Voters in Washington state overwhelmingly supported a new law to protect endangered animals Tuesday.
The statewide ballot measure, Initiative 1401, won in every county and received 71 percent of the vote statewide, as of Wednesday morning.
The law, backed by Paul G. Allen, makes Washington the first state in the country to create new penalties for those caught trafficking products made from key endangered species.
"Today’s victory is a step forward in the race against extinction. Thanks to the wisdom, compassion and determination of Washington voters, state authorities now have stronger tools to crack down on the illegal trade in endangered animal parts, which will help us save some of Earth’s most iconic creatures," said Allen in a statement.
Similar laws have been enacted in California, New York and New Jersey, but Initiative 1401 is the most comprehensive, protecting 10 endangered or threatened species including elephants, lions, rhinos and others.
"Our work is not done, even as we were casting our ballots to pass I-1401, poachers in Africa continued to kill elephants to harvest their tusks, and illegal fishing crews slaughtered countless sharks, just for their fins. So our fight for a more humane planet continues. I-1401 is a model that other states can follow, and I hope they will," said Allen.