We have a cheer for U.S. Reps Ted Lieu (D-California) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), for re-introducing the Prohibiting Threatened and Endangered Creature Trophies (ProTECT) Act. This federal legislation would amend the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to prohibit the taking of any endangered or threatened species in the United States as a trophy and the importation of any such trophy into the United States. We’ve signed on as supporters of the legislation, H.R. 4804, and are urging the Senate to introduce a companion bill.
The Trump administration has flung open the doors to trophy hunters, loosening restrictions on the killing of threatened and endangered species by reviewing permits on a case by case basis and without public comment. A federal ban would help protect Africa’s Big 5 majestic species and other sport-hunted wildlife.
Friends of Animal has proposed similar legislation in New York, which is the biggest port for trophies in the nation, and Connecticut.
“Saving wildlife from extinction is not a partisan issue and Friends of Animals has long been pushing against the trumped-up notion that killing is conservation. Most of the money spent by U.S. trophy hunters who travel to Africa to kill for sport never gets to local communities, studies show. If the world’s threatened and endangered species are going to survive, including elephants and giraffes whose populations keep plummeting, lawmakers must support the ProTECT Act. The bill is elegantly simple and right on point. We are heartened by the bipartisan support this comprehensive legislation has garnered and that Reps. Lieu and Jackson have continued to work to ensure these species survival,” said Friends of Animals President Priscilla Feral.
Lieu and Jackson Lee were joined by Republican U.S. Rep. Peter King, showing there is bipartisan support for the bill.
“Collecting endangered and threatened animals as trophies increases the risk these unique animals will go extinct,” Rep. Lieu said. “I am grateful that there is a bipartisan effort to conserve wildlife and combat wildlife trafficking in Congress, and am grateful to partner with Reps. Jackson Lee and King on this bill. We must end the senseless killings of endangered and threatened species listed under the ESA.”
Jackson said she was in Africa when Cecil the lion was killed by an American trophy hunter.
“Over the last decade the African lion population has declined by 50 percent due to unregulated poaching and habitat encroachment. The African elephant population has also declined more than 60 percent in Tanzania alone, since 2014. According to Economist at Large, if trophy hunting was successful as a management tool, we would not see these types dramatic decline,” she said. “A living African elephant is worth $1.6 million in tourism revenue over the course of its lifetime, and a living African lion is worth $3.5 million in tourism revenue over the course of its lifetime. The pool of people who want to view wildlife in their natural habitats is vastly larger and growing than the small, diminishing pool of trophy hunters.
“The ProTECT Act of 2019 ensures that all acts of senseless and perilous trophy killings are prohibited under the Endangered Species Act. I was in Africa when the iconic Cecil the Lion was murdered for sport. It is a disgrace that this act was committed by an American. His lack of respect for these animals and the preservation of our wildlife reverberated across the world. With growing support and awareness of the need to protect vulnerable ecosystems and a greater need for compassion of animal welfare issues, we hope that this legislative effort will be signed into law by the President, rescinding his pro-trophy hunting directive from March of last year,” she said.
Let your Congressional representatives know you want them to support the bill. You can find your Congressional representative here.
This post was updated on 10/23/19.