Bob Duff

Senate Majority Leader

Bob Duff

Standing Up For You!

May 19, 2021

Sen. Duff Leads Senate Ban on the Import, Sale and Possession of Connecticut of Africa’s ‘Big Six’ Endangered Species

HARTFORD – Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) today led the Senate passage of the 2021 version of “Cecil’s Law, ” which would ban any person in Connecticut from importing, possessing, selling, offering for sale or transporting any of the big six endangered African animal species: elephant, lion, leopard, black rhinoceros, white rhinoceros, and giraffe.

The bill passed on a 30-3 bipartisan vote and now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

The bill is named after “Cecil,” a 13-year old lion who was part of a long-term university study who lived primarily in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe and who was killed in July 2015 by an American hunter.

The bill – which passed the Senate in 2019 but was not raised for consideration that year in the House – bans importing, possessing, selling, offering for sale, or transporting in Connecticut a specimen (dead or alive) of any of the above six types of African animals.

There is a graduated penalty structure for violations, ranging from no penalty for someone who — unaware and in good faith — violates the ban, all the way up to a class D felony for someone with at least two prior violations subject to penalty. In all cases, the bill requires seizing the specimen and destroying it, unless the specimen is alive.

A first offense is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, up to six months in prison, or both; subsequent offenses are class D felonies, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, up to five years in prison, or both.

The bill does contain several exemptions, however, including for a specimen that is already legally in the state, or distributed to a beneficiary or an heir, as long as the owner obtains a certificate of possession from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

“These are beautiful, wild, endangered animals that we are seeking to protect and help save from extinction,” Sen. Duff said. “There’s not much that’s sporting about ambushing these amazing animals. African nations are working hard to protect these animals, and we need to do our part too to protect their heads and hides and body parts from being bought and sold on the international market.”

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. From 2005-2016, Connecticut residents killed 39 lions and one giraffe and imported their trophies.