holmes cheetah 052721SPRINGFIELD – Federal policy on illegal smuggling and trafficking of exotic animals’ body parts has been strengthened, and Illinois needs to step up as well, according to Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora). Illinois prohibited the trade of ivory and rhino horn in 2018, but other animal species continue to face the threat of extinction due to demand. Holmes’ legislation that would lengthen the list of species banned in Illinois passed in the Senate Thursday.

“Species are doomed to extinction if we don’t stop illegal smuggling and trafficking of their body parts,” Holmes said. “Federal policy has been strengthened, and Illinois needs to match that here.”

House Bill 395 would prohibit the sale of products and parts of giraffes, sharks, sea turtles, pangolins, tigers, lions, great apes and other imperiled species. Some examples:

  • Fewer than 7,100 cheetahs remain in the wild.
  • A quarter of all shark and ray species are threatened with extinction.
  • Between 2006 and 2015, the US imported approximately 40,000 giraffe parts and products.
  • All seven sea turtle species are threatened with extinction.
  • African lion populations have declined since 1993 and continue to decline.

“These beautiful creatures belong on this planet with us; they don’t deserve such cruelty and the threat to their species’ very survival,” Holmes said. “Many poaching practices are brutal and we can’t condone such brutality.”

House Bill 395 passed the House and Senate with strong bipartisan support. It now awaits consideration by the governor.

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