Photo courtesy of The Bushcamp Company. Mfuwe Lodge – famous for wild elephants walking through reception each year to reach ripened mangoes behind the lodge.
Cathy Smith and Stacy James prevailed in their first Nevada legislative effort Jan. 11, 2018 when SB 194, the Endangered Wildlife Trade law, was signed by Governor Sandoval. The law prohibits the purchase, sale or possession with intent to sell any item in this State that a person knows or should know contains or is, wholly or partially, made of an animal part or byproduct derived from any species of elephant, rhinoceros, whale, tiger, lion, leopard, cheetah, jaguar, pangolin, sea turtle, shark, ray, mammoth, narwhal, walrus or hippopotamus. Oregon, Washington and California all have similar laws. In addition to this achievement, Cathy is a practising physician, world traveler, photographer, and former member of the Washoe County Advisory Board to Manage Wildlife. (CAB)
Cathy was a minority voice on the Washoe County CAB steadfastly advocating for wildlife protection, and we hope soon to have her reflections on that experience.
Stacy James, who worked alongside Cathy for the passage of SB194, is a founder of Dazzle Africa who has led safaris in Zambia for many years. Her organization contributes to the welfare of African wildlife and communities.
Cathy Smith on her legislative experience:
Although I am far from expert on anything legislative, I will briefly write on our success with SB 194, the wildlife trafficking bill. The first, and one of the most challenging steps, is to find a bill sponsor. Stacy James was the successful one in that regard. If you can find a sponsor that is true advocate for your bill, you are ahead of the game. The next step is to find co-sponsors from both parties by having meetings with anyone possible. Our bill sponsor found most of the co-sponsors for us. Next, we created 1-2 page descriptions of the bill and began “stalking” legislators. We spoke with members of both parties, even the ones we knew would not support us. We took the information from those meetings to mold the bill into something more palatable for everyone. For example, because some people collected shark teeth, we changed the language of the bill to shark fin. We created an exclusion for knives and guns containing ivory for the state bill. By making these small changes, I think we were better able to demonstrate our willingness to listen to all opinions. Preventing misinformation is key as well. We made several one page infographics counteracting the inaccurate information that was placed by the opposition. We were also really lucky to have supporters willing to testify and meet with legislators along with us. It was a long painful road, but it was definitely worth it in the end.
- Senator Moises Denis
- Senator David Parks
- Senator Yvanna Cancela
- Senator Kelvin Atkinson
- Senator Mark Manendo
- Assemblywoman Heidi Swank
- Assemblyman Chris Edwards
- Assemblyman Jason Frierson
- Assemblyman Richard Carrillo
- Senator Aaron Ford
- Senator Julia Ratti
- Senator Tick Segerblom
- Assemblywoman Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod
- Assemblyman Skip Daly
- Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui
- Assemblywoman Amber Joiner