California Bill Banning African Imports Set for Hearing

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Take Action Today! California sportsmen should contact their state assembly member and ask them to vote NO on Senate Bill 1487. SB 1487 is bad for wildlife. It’s unfair to legal hunters who fund conservation and anti-poaching efforts in Africa. And it’s bad for impoverished African communities. California members can find their state assembly member by using the Sportsmen’s Alliance Legislative Action Center.

In California, legislation that would ban the import of most of Africa’s iconic Big Five species has been set for a hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on August 8. Senate Bill 1487, also called the Iconic African Species Protection Act, sponsored by Sen. Henry I. Stern (D-27), would ban the importation of body parts from elephants, lions, leopards and black or white rhinos unless they are being used for educational or scientific purposes. Anyone in violation of the act could face a fine of $5,000 to $50,000.

The hearing is set to take place Aug. 8 in the State Capitol, Room 4202 at 9 a.m.

SB 1487 reported favorably out of the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee on June 26 and the Assembly Judiciary Committee on June 28. SB 1487 passed the Senate on May 30 with a vote of 27 to 6. California’s General Assembly doesn’t adjourn until August 31, giving little time for sportsmen to voice their concern over the bill.

Currently, American hunters may import trophies from the Big Five, which include elephants, lions, leopards, black or white rhinos and Cape buffalo, with the proper permits from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service only issues import permits for hunts that occur in countries that maintain sound conservation plans that help improve threatened and endangered wildlife. Dollars spent by American hunters help fund anti-poaching operations and provide meat and much needed sources of revenue to villages in range countries.

“American hunters are a significant reason why the Big Five and many other African species are thriving today,” said Luke Houghton, associate director of state services for Sportsmen’s Alliance. “This bill will do nothing to aid wildlife, and in the long run will actually hurt impoverished Africans and wildlife, especially threatened and endangered species.”

If Senate Bill 1487 passes, California would become the second state to explicitly ban the importation of these species, following in the footsteps of New Jersey, which enacted a ban in 2016. Washington state enacted a ballot initiative in 2015 that banned the trade of ivory and parts of some animals, which include elephants, leopards, lions, rhinos, sharks and others.

About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research.  Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: OnlineFacebookTwitter and Instagram.