California: Governor Brown Vetoes African Trophy Ban

 By Soren Nelson, Pacific Southwest States Coordinator

On September 30, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed Senate Bill 1487. This bill, which would have banned the importation of 11 African species, was opposed by a broad coalition of sportsmen’s and conservation organizations, including the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF).

“Wildlife management should be guided by science, not by emotion,” remarked CSF’s Pacific Southwest States Coordinator, Soren Nelson. “Legal, regulated hunting of African species has proven to be a wildly successful tool for their management and recovery, just as it has here in the United States, and I applaud the Governor for vetoing this misguided legislation.”

In the Governor’s veto message, he noted that this legislation would have been unenforceable under federal law, stating, “SB 1487 would have imposed a state civil penalty for activities expressly authorized by the U.S. Endangered Species Act.”

Revenue generated by licensed, regulated hunting is the single most important source of funding for conservation and anti-poaching efforts in Africa. In many Southern and Eastern African countries, revenues generated from licensed, regulated hunting are the primary source of management, conservation, and anti-poaching funds for national wildlife authorities. These hunting programs have been designed by experts to allow a limited, sustainable harvest, and to generate funds for conservation, anti-poaching enforcement, and community incentives. This system has helped recover or maintain “Big 5” populations in Southern and Eastern Africa.

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Recently, Virginia has proposed legislation that would make the punishment for poaching, in their state, a 1-5 year prison sentence through HB-449. Poaching undermines the social acceptance of hunters, jobs, recreation, local and state economies, and conservation efforts. How should poachers be punished?

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