NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Legislation has been introduced in New York that would ban the import, possession, sale or transportation of the remains of five endangered species native to Africa.

State Sen. Tony Avella was joined Wednesday by animal rights advocates on the steps of City Hall to announce the bill, which covers elephants, leopards, lions, black rhinoceroses and white rhinoceroses.

All five species are currently facing extinction and are further threatened by illegal poaching and sport hunting, advocates said.

“We’re supposed to be the stewards of these species and shame on us if we allow them to become extinct because of sport hunting,” Sen. Avella told 1010 WINS.

A recent report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency said New York is the port of entry for much of the illegal animal trade into the country, 1010 WINS reported.

“If we can stop it here, we can send a message to the entire world that New Yorkers and New York will not tolerate this,” Avella said.

The senator added that he believes New York should lead the way in taking a stand for these endangered species.

“There’s a huge number of animal rights advocates in New York and throughout the country and the world who want to preserve these animals,” he said. “If we don’t take steps now, they will be extinct. And future generations will not know that they ever existed.”

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