Victory for the Wildlife Trafficking Act!
SB75 (Stewart, D-Albq) passed the State Senate 22-9 on February 8th, and then went on to win the House 42-22 on February 18th, making the trafficking of animal species threatened with extinction a crime in New Mexico. It is now headed to the governor's desk where Lujan-Grisham is expected to sign it into law.
The Wildlife Trafficking Act closes loopholes to help prevent trafficking of endangered and other protected species and their parts. It is a necessary complement the Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt Wildlife Trafficking Act signed into law under the Obama administration in 2016.
The new law, effective July 1st, 2020, "creates civil penalties for wildlife trafficking, with fines not to exceed $10,000 or three times the value of the items trafficked—whichever is greater."
Our neighboring city of El Paso is among the top five ports of entry for wildlife trafficking, where anything from elephant tusks, shark fins, to an array of endangered South American species have been brought into the U.S. Finally, New Mexico is able to do its part to crack down on trafficking.
“This bill is narrowly focused on the cracking down on the multibillion-dollar wildlife-trafficking black market,” Stewart said in a press release. “The goal of the Wildlife Trafficking Act is to crack down on an industry that is quickly and illegally killing off endangered species around the world.”
Image above: John and Karen Hollingsworth/USFWS
Image on cover: Todd Heisler/New York Times