Last week, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed promising new legislation designating giraffes as a vulnerable species and outlawing the trade of their body parts. Introduced by Assemblymember Steve Englebright and Sen. Monica Martinez, this new law helps to end the cruel and barbaric giraffe trade industry.
Trophy hunters indiscriminately kill these beautiful animals, and traders fetch a high price selling “luxury” items crafted out of their bodies. According to data gathered from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, hunters and traders imported around 40,000 giraffe ‘trophies’ into the United States between 2006 and 2015. Despite their dwindling numbers in the wild, giraffe skin and bones are legally sold as expensive pillows, boots, knife handles, bible covers, and other trinkets online and in brick-and-mortar stores throughout the United States.
Giraffe populations are in jeopardy due to a sustained loss of habitat and illegal hunting. There are only about 68,000 mature giraffes alive in the wild; yet, according to the Humane Society International, at least one giraffe body part is imported into the United States every day.
New York’s ban sets a powerful precedent against trophy hunting and protects these majestic creatures. We applaud Governor Cuomo and the state of New York for their continued efforts to conserve wildlife and protect animals. It is time that the nation follows suit.