Eustace Proposes Ban on Transporting Game Trophies Back through Certain U.S. Airports after Death of Cecil the Lion

Assemblyman also urges Feds to Act on Proposal to Add African Lion to Endangered Species List

Assemblyman Tim Eustace is proposing legislation to help protect the African lion from extinction by banning the transport of game trophies of threatened or endangered species through airports controlled by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Since the airports controlled by the Port Authority – Newark International, J.F.K and LaGuardia – are some of the most heavily traveled routes back to the U.S. from countries in Africa, Eustace hopes the ban will serve as a disincentive for killing endangered animals for sport.

“This ban would cut off a link back to the United States for game hunters intent on importing the dead carcasses of endangered animals,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Hopefully making it more difficult for these types of hunters to transport their ‘prizes’ will give them pause or perhaps even make them reconsider this type of inhumane activity.”

Eustace, on Wednesday, also called on the federal government to upgrade the status of the African lion to “endangered” under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, a move currently under consideration by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Last fall the USFWS proposed the change after a review of the best available scientific information found that the lion is in danger of becoming extinct in the foreseeable future.

“The news of the tragic demise of Cecil the lion illustrates how globally connected our ecosystems are in this day and age and underscores the need to improve our conservation efforts, both at home and abroad. There’s only so much we can do on a state level, but by banning the import of endangered game trophies and adding the African lion to the Endangered Species List, together we can have a major impact,” added Eustace.

Eustace is also proposing separate legislation that would add “threatened” animals to New Jersey’s “Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act,” which currently makes it illegal to possess, transport, export, process, sell or offer for sale, or ship, or knowingly transport or receive for shipment any species or subspecies of wildlife appearing on the following lists: (1) the list of wildlife determined to be endangered by the commissioner pursuant to this act; (2) the list of nongame species regulated pursuant to this act; and (3) any Federal list of endangered species.

Eustace intends to introduce both pieces of legislation the next time the Assembly is formally in session.