New Jersey outlaws importing, owning ‘trophy’ animal parts

Protesters gather outside Dr. Walter James Palmer's dental office in Bloomington

Protesters gather outside Dr. Walter James Palmer's dental office in Bloomington

New Jersey lawmakers have approved modifications that Gov. Chris Christie made to legislation that bans the import and possession of parts from “trophy” animals including lions, rhinos, and elephants.

The legislation makes New Jersey the leader in the global movement to save endangered species from extinction, said Jen Samuel, founder of Elephants DC, which is dedicated to ending the ivory trade.

“Elephants are being poached faster than they are giving birth. The conservative estimate is 35,000 elephants are slaughtered annually in Africa,” she said. “When it comes to lions, we’re looking at only 20,000 left in Africa. They’re being targeted for sport, for greed, for vanity.”

Assemblyman Tim Eustace said the measure will also benefit the economy of African countries.

“The more lions we kill, the more rhinos we kill, the more elephants we kill, the less those people can feed themselves. They don’t eat bush meat as it’s called. They don’t eat these animals,” said Eustace, D-Bergen. “They’re left to rot after the ivory is taken.”

The legislation sends a sure message to big game trophy hunters, said Sen. Ray Lesniak..

“Don’t even try to bring another leopard that you’ve killed in order to prove your manhood, don’t even try to bring any trophy into New Jersey,” said Lesniak, D-Bergen.

Violating the ban will result in fines up to $50,000.

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