The Connecticut State Senate Committee on Environment held a public hearing today focused on legislation that would ban the import, sale, and transport of trophies from several species of African Wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards, giraffes, and both black and white rhinos. SCI submitted official written testimony in opposition of House Bill 5104 on the grounds that this legislation would have detrimental effects on wildlife conservation and negative impacts on rural communities reliant on hunting related tourism.
SCI’s testimony highlighted the bill’s contrast with scientific research compiled by wildlife experts across the African continent, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the U.S. Government, and Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), among others. That research reveals that hunting generates incentives that protect habitat, reduce poaching, and encourage local stakeholders to participate in the conservation of these species.
The written testimony also emphasized the desire of African countries to maintain the flexibility to use hunting as part of their management strategies for these species and underlined some of the conservation success stories in Africa that have been funded primarily through hunting related revenue.
It is important to note that should this bill become law, it would be unenforceable as legal precedent dictates that this legislation would be preempted by the federal Endangered Species Act, which means the state would likely expend personnel resources defending a law which clearly violates federal statute.
SCI also joined a coalition of sportsmen’s and conservation organizations in submitting a letter of opposition to the bill. Partners included the Boone and Crockett Club, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Connecticut Waterfowl Association, Conservation Force, Dallas Safari Club, Delta Waterfowl, Houston Safari Club, Hunter Nation, International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation, National Delegation – U.S.A., National Shooting Sports Foundation Northeast Taxidermy Studios, Inc., Nutmeg State Council of Sportsmen, Quality Deer Management Association, The Central Connecticut Chapter of SCI, Sportsmen’s Alliance, and the Wildlife Management Institute.
To monitor the progress of this bill, and other legislation important to hunters across the nation, sign up for SCI’s Hunters Advocacy Action Center today!