NEWARK, NJ – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) today applauded the Obama Administration’s action to place lions in Africa and India under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, a measure that Menendez and colleagues called for in August. Menendez also urged Congress to take this first step and expand upon it by passing the Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large (CECIL) Animal Trophies Act to curb the sport killing of species that are proposed to be listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

Menendez’ CECIL Animal Trophies Act is named after an African lion who was allegedly lured outside of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe in July, shot with an arrow, and tracked for 40 hours while injured before being shot.

“The Administration rightfully took a step to help these majestic animals avoid extinction and prevent cruel and inhumane maiming, and I encourage Congress to take the next step to protect other potentially endangered species,” said Sen. Menendez. “Cecil’s death was a preventable tragedy that highlighted the need to extend and strengthen the protections of the Endangered Species Act. Let’s send a clear message to the international community that the United States is committed to protecting the most vulnerable species in our own country and around the world.”

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposed listing the African Lion as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in October 2014, and Sen. Menendez, along with Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) wrote U.S. Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell to expedite the review and completion of a rule to help protect the African lion in August.

Menendez’ CECIL Animal Trophies Act is co-sponsored by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Edward Markey (D-MA), Gary Peters, (D-MI), and Mark Kirk (R-IL). Full text of the CECIL Animal Trophies Act can be downloaded here.