Wildlife trophy hunters face sanctions similar to drug dealers

American politicians are to get tough with wildlife trophy hunters in a bid to stamp out repeat incidents like the recent shooting of Cecil the Lion by a US citizen in Zimbabwe.

US politicians moving to charge wildlife trophy hunters in the same way as drug traffickers are treated

US politicians moving to charge wildlife trophy hunters in the same way as drug traffickers are treated Image by Frank Vassen / CC BY 2.0

The measures, already passed by the US House of Representatives, now goes to the Senate and if it gets the green light there, it will see penalties imposed on wildlife traffickers similar to those handed down to drug dealers and illegal arms smugglers.

The bill is aimed to protect endangered species in the wild

The bill is aimed to protect endangered species in the wild Image by Edinburgh Zoo /PA Wire

The bill, according to the Independent in London, was prompted by the killing of Cecil in Zimbabwe during the summer by Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer. Introduced the following month by a Democrat, Bob Menendez, it is receiving bipartisan support.

While intended to focus primarily on trophy hunters and traffickers, the legislation will also allow for action against countries failing to tackle such poaching in their own jurisdictions.

This follows on Palmers claim that he had correct permits for the killing and the subsequent announcement by Zimbabwe that they would not be issuing proceedings against him.

The dentist kept a low profile for several weeks following the global outcry after Cecil’s killing was reported.

The lion’s killing has been investigated by the Department of Justice as well as the US Fish and Wildlife Service to see if the death contravened the Lacey Act. This legislation was set up to enforce protection outside of the US to animals considered endangered.

Related content