With the intent to protect countless imperiled animals from further exploitation, senators have responded to the tragic killing of Cecil the Lion last month by extending protection to such species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Known as the Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large (CECIL) Animal Trophies Act (S. 1918), the goal of the bill is to "extend the current import and export protections of the ESA to animals that are proposed for listing as threatened or endangered, but don’t yet have those protections under the law," according to Animal Welfare Institute's press release.
Introduced by Bob Menendez, D-NJ; Cory Booker, D-NJ; Richard Blumenthal, D-CT; Ben Cardin, D-MD; Barbara Mikulski, D-MD; and Edward Markey, D-MA, CECIL Act would "create a disincentive for trophy hunters to kill animals such as Cecil while their species’ ESA status is under review."
“Cecil’s death was a preventable tragedy that highlights the need to extend the protections of the Endangered Species Act,” Sen. Menendez said. “When we have enough concern about the future of a species to propose it for listing, we should not be killing it for sport. I’m proud to be joined by my colleagues in introducing this commonsense legislation to take a necessary and prudent step that creates a disincentive for these senseless trophy killings and advances our commitment in leading the fight to combat global wildlife trafficking.”
The U.S Tis the largest importer of African lion parts in all the world with imports of over 5,750 wild lion trophies since 2000, according to Animal Welfare Institute.
CECIL Act is the direct response to such imports in an effort to "curtail the importation of animal parts for hunting trophies and commercial purposes."
“Passing the CECIL Animal Trophies Act will allow the United States to prevent further exploitation of species like the African lion that are in urgent need of safeguarding,” said Cathy Liss, president of AWI. “We applaud Sen. Menendez for his leadership in introducing this critically needed legislation that would protect countless imperiled animals from meeting a similarly gruesome end.”
Find out more about CECIL Act here.