Selling parts and products made from imperiled wildlife species could soon be banned in Illinois thanks to the passage of HB 395, which is headed to Gov. J.B. Pritzker for his signature. This bill amends the Ivory Ban Act, by banning the trade of products made from 16 additional species including cheetahs, tigers, lions, pangolins, whales, giraffes and sea turtles. If signed, it will be one of the most comprehensive state wildlife trafficking measures in the nation.
The U.S. is a major contributor to the $20 billion illegal wildlife trade, which pushes many iconic animals to the brink of extinction while increasing global instability. Between 2006 and 2015, the U.S. imported approximately 40,000 giraffe parts and products. African lion populations have declined by 43% since 1993 and are still declining. Pangolins are targeted for their scales and are the most highly trafficked mammal. Because illicit products are smuggled into local markets, state laws are needed to complement existing federal laws and regulations.
“While many of these iconic species reside in countries and oceans thousands of miles away, they continue to face the threat of extinction due to the selfish demand for their parts—a demand that exists here in the U.S. The killing of these animals for their skins, bones and other parts, for the sake of trinkets, medicinal use, home décor and fashion, is appalling and cruel,” said Marc Ayers, Illinois state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “The strong bipartisan support for this bill shows that Illinoisans want nothing to do with human exploitation of threatened and endangered animals.”