The killing of Zimbabwe’s Cecil the Lion last year by a Minnesota dentist made headlines nationwide, and Connecticut State Senate President Bob Duff wants to introduce a bill that would avoid a similar scandal in his state.
Duff plans to introduce a bill to ban importation of some wild game trophies, WSHU reported. Inspiration for the bill came from a fundraising concert last fall that featured a piece by Christopher Jessup who highlighted the dangers to animals like Cecil the Lion.
“I went to the concert, met him and his family,” Duff told WHSU. “I figured that he had so much passion about it, that I should also try and do what I could do.”
Duff told WHSU this bill, dubbed “Cecil’s Law,” is about making a statement to the rest of the country and to federal lawmakers who aren’t considering banning trophy hunting. Washington is the only state that bans some hunters from bringing their trophies into the country, but four states, including Connecticut and New York, are currently considering similar bills.
“We really don’t want to have these type of trophy animals here in our state,” Duff told WHSU. “We don’t want them coming into the state of Connecticut.”
However, WHSU reports that for the ban to fully work in Connecticut, New York must also pass its proposed ban on trophy hunting because New York is a designated entry point for hunting trophies from Africa, while Connecticut is not.
“If we were able to get legislation in particular with the New York Port Authority, you would see initially a pretty major slide in the number of trophies entering into the United States,” Michael Harris, director of the Wildlife Law Program with the advocacy group Friends of Animals, told WHSU.
The ban obviously doesn’t sit well with everyone.
Bob Crook, the head of the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsman, told WHSU the ban would hurt conservation because of the fees trophy hunters pay to hunt African animals.
“All these trophy fees go into law enforcement in the African areas to prevent poaching,” Crook said. “It’s a loss to the African nations, it’s a loss to the Connecticut hunters who want to go there.”
The proposed bill has the power to shut down trophy hunting traffic in the Northeast, but WHSU reports there are other states, including Texas and Florida, that allow hunters to bring their trophies into the country.