Connecticut: Take action to protect African wildlife from trophy hunting

Connecticut: Take action to protect African wildlife from trophy hunting

Connecticut does not have clean hands when it comes to pushing Africa’s Big 5 closer to extinction. Our state is supplying customers to the grave, immoral trophy hunting industry.

We can and must put an end to this barbarism.

You can speak out this week via email or in person in support of HB5104 “An Act Prohibiting the Import, Sale, and Possession of African Elephants, Lions, Leopards, Black and White Rhinos and Giraffes,” a bipartisan bill drafted by Friends of Animals and co-sponsored by state Sen. Majority Leader Bob Duff and state Rep. Michael Winkler.

HB5104 would ban the importation, possession, sale or transportation of the trophies of African giraffes, leopards, lions, elephants, black and white rhinos and their body parts throughout Connecticut—all vulnerable, threatened and endangered species.

The Environment Committee will be holding a public hearing on the bill, HB5104, Friday, Feb. 21 at the state Capitol at 11:30 a.m. in Hearing Room 2B. If you cannot attend, please email written testimony in Word or PDF format to envtestimony@cga.ct.gov; PDF format is strongly preferred. Testimony received by 3 p.m. the workday before the hearing will be available for members of the committee during the public hearing. Testimony received after 3 p.m. will be available for members of the committee after the public hearing.

Here are some talking points:

● 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 CT 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.

● The CT communities that have been issued the most permits for trophy hunting: Greenwich, North Haven, Norwalk, Berlin, Stamford, Westport, Weston, Easton, Southington, Middletown.

● The Big 5 African Trophies Act recognizes that legal trophy hunting as one of the main reasons Africa’s Big Five face extinction. It sends a strong message to CT, Washington and the rest of the country that trophy hunting needs to end to protect vulnerable, threatened and endangered species who are already fighting for the lives as they face poaching and habitat loss from human development.

● Trophy hunters claim that without their money, African governments would have no money for conservation. But shooting animals full of bullets does not increase their population or expand their habitat. The newest data reveals that trophy hunting is economically useless. While the Safari Club boasts that revenues from hunting generate at least $200 million annually in remote areas of Africa, most of the money goes to trophy hunting operators/outfitters and government agencies, many of which are corrupt. A 2013 study reveals that a measly 3 percent of expenditures goes back to African communities for conservation or development, and it’s likely less than that due to corruption.

● The reversal of Obama-era bans by Trump’s Department of Interior on elephant trophy imports from Zambia and Zimbabwe and elephant and lion trophies from Tanzania, is putting even more pressure on these species, which is why it is urgent for states to step up and protect the most vulnerable species on the planet.