POLITICS
07/29/2015 04:10 pm ET Updated Dec 28, 2016

Cecil The Lion's Death Inspires New Jersey Bill To Protect Endangered Species

The proposed law would stop game trophies from coming through three major airports.

It didn't take long for global outrage over Cecil the lion's death to lead to proposed legislation.

New Jersey Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D) announced Wednesday he will file a bill during the state's next legislative session that would ban transporting animal carcasses of endangered or threatened species through airports overseen by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey -- Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports.

"This ban would cut off a link back to the United States for game hunters intent on importing the dead carcasses of endangered animals," Eustace said. "Hopefully making it more difficult for these types of hunters to transport their 'prizes' will give them pause or perhaps even make them reconsider this type of inhumane activity."

On Tuesday, the Telegraph reported American dentist Walter Palmer paid $55,000 for the hunt. The hunters allegedly lured the well-known lion, who was popular with tourists for his friendly demeanor, out of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe to a nearby hunting zone and shot him with an arrow. They followed Cecil for 40 hours before killing him.

Palmer, who could be extradited to Zimbabwe over Cecil's death, released a statement Tuesday expressing his regret over the hunt but said he was under the impression it was legal. According to The New York Times, Palmer has closed his practice near Minneapolis.

In light of Cecil's death, Eustace is also calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to add the African lion to its endangered species list, something the service is currently considering. The lion's status is currently listed as "threatened."

“The news of the tragic demise of Cecil the lion illustrates how globally connected our ecosystems are in this day and age and underscores the need to improve our conservation efforts, both at home and abroad," Eustace said. "There’s only so much we can do on a state level, but by banning the import of endangered game trophies and adding the African lion to the Endangered Species List, together we can have a major impact."

A second bill proposed by Eustace would add "threatened" species to an already-existing New Jersey law that prohibits the possession or transport of endangered species.

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