New York’s “Big Five African Trophies Act” Fails To Advance

New York’s “Big Five African Trophies Act” (SB 3302) is officially dead for this session! New York’s General Assembly has adjourned sine die and, with that, all remaining bills that have not passed both chambers are done for this session. 

This is a huge win for hunters in the Empire State and for sustainable-use wildlife conservation worldwide! 

 New York legislators attempted to once again restrict the legal importation of harvested African species from the countries with the largest populations of these species in the world—and who rely on these species to support their well-managed conservation programs.

Senate bill 3302, the “Big Five African Trophies Act,” would have banned in the State of New York the importation, transportation, and possession of any part or product of six major African species of wildlife, the African elephant, lion, leopard, black rhinoceros, white rhinoceros, and giraffe. 

As always, SCI was quick to point out two facts:

  • 1. Adoption of this legislation will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the actual conservation of these species. 
  • 2. These types of laws are unenforceable and preempted by federal law.

Trophy import prohibitions go against decades of scientific research compiled by wildlife experts in African nations, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the U.S. Government, and Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), among others. As confirmed by that research, hunting generates incentives that protect habitat, reduce poaching, provide revenue for social services and infrastructure, and encourage local stakeholders to participate in the conservation of these species. 

It is well documented that the largest populations of lions, elephants, leopards, rhinoceroses, giraffes, and many other species live in countries where highly regulated hunting exists. The IUCN reports that import restrictions on species like the African elephant, black rhino, white rhino, and lion “could likely cause serious declines of populations.”

Through SCI’s Hunter Advocacy Action Center (HAAC), New York Advocates were able to contact their state legislators and oppose Senate Bill 3302. A big thank you to our advocates who opposed this misguided and federally preempted bill! 

A version of this bill has been introduced in New York every session since 2016, and SCI fully expects for misguided New York legislators to continue this trend early in 2025. Rest assured that SCI, our members, and partner organizations stand ready and will continue to oppose emotionally based trophy importation bans.

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