California Senate Bill 1175, will be heard in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee on May 26th at 1:30PM.
It would ban the possession and import of the following species in California: African elephant, African lion, leopard, black rhinoceros, white rhinoceros, giraffe, Jentink’s duiker, plains zebra, mountain zebra, hippopotamus, baboon and hyaena
SB 1175 represents a misguided attempt to address a legitimate concern about diminished numbers of “iconic” African species. By banning the import of hunting trophies, the bill targets the countries where these species are healthiest. Most elephants, lions, and black rhinos live in countries where they are hunted. These populations are stable or increasing—not declining.
The bill, if enacted, would directly conflict with the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and therefore would be unlawful. Furthermore, under Section 8 of the ESA, the United States Fish and Wildlife is obligated to “encourage foreign counties to provide for the conservation of fish or wildlife.” Any state law that disincentivizes hunting and reduces the benefits for foreign conservation programs would directly conflict with that mandate.
Put simply, the bill is not based on facts. It will not save any species. To the contrary, elephants, lions, black rhinos, and other species will suffer if the incentives generated by regulated hunting are reduced. The state of California currently faces a $54 billion budget deficit and this legislation would only add to that.