Capitol Alert

Kangaroo imports to again be illegal in California

Sea World of San Diego brought a kangaroo to the state Capitol in Sacramento on Wednesday, May 27, 2015.
Sea World of San Diego brought a kangaroo to the state Capitol in Sacramento on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. rbenton@sacbee.com

If you live in California and are planning to gift a loved one some kangaroo leather shoes this holiday season, it will be your last chance for the foreseeable future.

Products derived from the Australia marsupial will soon be illegal to import or sell in California, re-establishing a prohibition that was temporarily lifted in 2008. Legislation permitting the flow of Australian kangaroo skins and products came with a 2016 sunset.

An unsuccessful effort to delay a renewed ban made for some of more unusual political theater of 2015. After a bill authorizing continued imports surfaced late in the session opponents cried foul, pointing to the Australian government’s role in funding an industry organization, the Kangaroo Industries Association of Australia, which retained a Sacramento lobbying firm.

The bill never got a vote, which means the ban returns on Jan. 1, 2016. It covers importing, possessing with intent to sell or selling kangaroo parts. Violators could face fines of up to $5,000 or as long as six months in jail.

Enforcement will fall mainly to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert

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