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Senate Majority Leader

Bob Duff

Representing Norwalk & Darien

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Senator Duff Leads Passage of Cecil’s Law to Protect Endangered Species

HARTFORD, CT – Last week, legislation that would prohibit the importation and trade of big six African species, passed the Senate on Friday by a 32-4 vote. Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) who introduced the bill praised its passage.

Senate Bill 20, “An Act Prohibiting the Import, Sale and Possession of African Elephants, Lions, Leopards, Black Rhinoceros, White Rhinoceros and Giraffes,” would ban any person from importing, possessing, selling, offering for sale or transporting any big six African species. "Big six African species" means any specimen of any of the following members of the animal kingdom, including any part, product or offspring thereof, or the dead body or parts thereof, except fossils:

  • African elephant (loxodonta africana)
  • African lion (panthera leo)
  • African leopard (panthera pardus pardus)
  • black rhinoceros (diceros bicornis)
  • white rhinoceros (ceratotherium simum cottoni)
  • African giraffe (giraffa camelopardalis)

Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more than two thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

“Elephants, lions, leopards, rhinoceroses and giraffes are beautiful animals,” said Senate Majority Bob Duff. “It is not sporting or acceptable in today’s society to ambush and murder these amazing creatures. African nations are working to protect theses species from extinction and this bill is a small step we can take to help them. As long as people are willing to pay large sums of money for the experience of killing one of these beautiful creatures there is little they can do to put a complete stop to it. With this bill we are trying to do our part to put any end to these activities.”

“Friends of Animals is grateful to the Connecticut Senate, led by Bob Duff, for voting to stop supporting the useless trophy hunting industry that is pushing giraffes, lions, leopards, elephants and rhinos to extinction,” said Priscilla Feral, President of Friends of Animals. “As soon as you put a price tag on these threatened, vulnerable and endangered animals, you send a mixed message about whether they need to be protected at all, and that’s detrimental to actual conservation. Shooting animals full of bullets does not increase their population or expand their habitat. Trophy hunters are just poachers with permits.”

The bill was proposed after an outcry after an American dentist paid a significant amount of money for the experience of killing an endangered lion. The lion, Cecil, was a beloved ion and local favorite who lived on a wildlife refuge in Zimbabwe.

According to Friends of Animals, from 2005-2015, 59 trophy hunting permits were issued to Connecticut residents by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service so people could hunt and kill leopards for their trophies. Six additional permits were provided to Connecticut residents to kill African elephants in Botswana, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. And from 2005-2016, Connecticut residents killed 39 lions and one giraffe and imported their trophies.

If passed by the House of Representatives and signed by the Governor, the law would not apply to ivory and would not apply to the importing, transporting or possessing of a live big six African species by any zoological institution accredited by the Zoological Association of America or circus approved by the Department of Consumer Protection.

The bill now awaits a vote by the House of Representatives.

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