From: The Committee on Natural Resources – Minority Staff
Sent By:
Bill: H.R. 2697
Date: 8/12/2015

Illegal Poaching of Cecil the Lion Leads to a Call for Conservation:

Co-sponsor the Rare Cats and Canids Act of 2015


Cecil the lion, patrolling his territory in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe.

Photo by Brent Staplecamp.


Current Co-Sponsors: Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), Susan A. Davis (CA-53), Sam Farr (CA-20), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05), Michael Honda (CA-17), William Keating (MA-09), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Mark Takano (CA-41), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Sander M. Levin, (MI-09), Eliot L. Engel (NY-16), Pedro R. Pierluisi (PR), Charles B. Rangel (NY-13), Alan S. Lowenthal (CA-47), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Janice D. Schakowsky (IL-09), Michael E. Capuano (MA-07), Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20), and Judy Chu (CA-27).


Dear Colleague,


You have no doubt heard about the recent tragic illegal killing of Cecil the Lion, a 13-year-old lion, dominant male of his pride, and one of Zimbabwe’s most beloved symbols of wildlife and important driver of tourism. The hunter, along with hired professionals, lured Cecil out of Hwange National Park and shot him, allegedly without a permit, and collected the head and skin. They also removed a GPS collar that Cecil was wearing as part of an ongoing research project directed by Oxford University, and that had been providing scientists with important data on the behavior and biology of lions.

In light of this tragedy, I invite you to join me as a co-sponsor of H.R. 2697 the Rare Cats and Canids Act of 2015.Beyond Cecil, over two thirds of the world’s cat species and one third of canids (dog) are recognized as species in need of protection under federal or international law. Many of these vulnerable species sit at the top of the food chain, serving as ‘umbrella species,’ meaning that the health of these animals is an indicator and foundation for the health of the ecosystem as a whole. By supporting the recovery of these specific umbrella species, we can have tremendous impacts on entire ecosystems.

Wildlife around the world is threatened by habitat loss and degradation, invasive species, illegal hunting, disease, and pollution. Additionally, there are a number of threats specific to wild cats and canines such as wildlife-human conflict, exploitation for skins and medicinal trade, and persecution based upon perceptions and mythology surrounding the character of wild carnivores.

The US Fish & Wildlife Service is a world leader in the conservation of endangered species through the management of the Multinational Species Conservation Funds. Programs like the Asian Elephant Conservation Fund and the Marine Turtle Conservation Fund have seen resounding success, strengthening wildlife populations while empowering local communities. Saving vulnerable cat and canid species from extinction requires a similar global commitment.

The Rare Cats and Canids Act of 2015 would provide conservation resources to the Department of the Interior for cat and canine species existing outside the United States that are designated on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red List as near threatened, vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered. Through the establishment of a conservation fund, the act will provide resources to local wildlife management authorities and organizations that demonstrate longevity and sustainability in their management practices.

To join me in sponsoring this bill, or if you have any questions, please contact Thomas Farrugia ( or call the Committee on Natural Resources at (202) 225-6065.


Raúl M. Grijalva
Ranking Member
House Committee on Natural Resources