This bill amends the environmental conservation law to designate certain species as vulnerable including the giraffe and prohibits the sale of articles made from these vulnerable species.
Thousands of wildlife species are threatened and are being pushed towards extinction by illegal and/or unsustainable wildlife trade, a multibillion-dollar business around the world. Unless species are listed as endangered through the federal Endangered Species Act, they are most likely not protected by federal or state laws and therefore trading them is legal.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species serves as a critical information resource on the global conservation status of animal, fungi, and plant species. The giraffe is listed on the IUCN’s Red List and is currently assessed as vulnerable due to a population decline of up to 40 percent over three decades. This decline is largely caused by habitat loss, illegal hunting for bushmeat, and trophy hunting. A report by the Humane Society of the United States in 2018 suggested there is a booming demand and substantial market for giraffe parts in the United States, used to make pillows, rugs, boots, and other items from giraffe skin, bones, and other parts. Several organizations including the Humane Society petitioned the federal government in 2018 to list the giraffe as endangered under the Endangered Species Act to help end this wildlife trade, but no action has yet been taken. New York can take immediate action to extend protections to the giraffe and other vulnerable species and help put an end to this destructive wildlife trade.
This bill gives the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) the ability to protect species including the giraffe by designating them as vulnerable species and prohibiting the sale of any article made in whole or in part from the skin, hide, or other parts of the species unless licensed or permitted by DEC.