The Death of Cecil the Lion Spurs Proposed NJ Legislation
Cecil, the popular and protected lion killed in Zimbabwe by Minnesota dentist James Palmer is being mourned by millions around the world.
Palmer, the target of outrage and scorn is now in seclusion. Meanwhile, a New Jersey legislator has already come up with an idea he hoped could help save African lions from extinction.
"I want to stop people from bringing in endangered or threatened animal parts or the animals themselves through our airports," said Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-Paramus).
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey controls Newark Liberty, JFK and LaGuardia airports. Eustace said he'll propose a measure that would require the New Jersey portion of the bi-state agency to outlaw the transport of big game animal trophies of threatened and endangered species through the airports. The New York Legislature would also have pass similar legislation.
"Hopefully legislators in New York will pick up on the idea and run with the bill as well so both states are on board," Eustace said.
The assemblyman also urged the federal government to declare the African lion as 'endangered' under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is already reviewing the move.
There will be another Cecil-related bill Eustace pledged. The second measure would add "threatened" animals to New Jersey's "Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act." The Act prohibits the possession, transportation, exportation, processing, selling or offering to sell, or ship, or knowingly transport or receive any species or subspecies of endangered wildlife.
"If we continue on the path we're going our grandchildren will only be able to look at pictures of lions and elephants," Eustace predicted.
The assemblyman has a connection to Africa and the African lion because every year he works building schools in Kenya and always does a photo safari before returning to New Jersey.
"People get to see these lions that are docilely lying next to our trucks as we drive through these game parks so it's like shooting fish in a barrel that you can go and kill these majestic animals," Eustace said.