Very sad news today – the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) is putting African lions on the US Endangered Species List.
Why would an animal in Africa be on the US list? Because it will stop trophy hunters, one of the causes of the King of the Jungle’s demise.
Permits will be required to import sport-hunted lion "trophies," and they won’t be given out unless lions are hunted in countries that have scientifically managed management plans for this iconic animal. About 400 lion trophies taken each year are imported into the US, about half of the annual take.
FWS is responding to a petition submitted by Born Free USA, Humane Society International, Humane Society of the United
States, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and other animal protection groups.
"Lion numbers have declined by more than half in the last three decades. To allow trophy hunting to continue unabated is kicking an animal while it’s already down," says Jeff Flocken for IFAW. "We thank the U.S. government for acknowledging that this
iconic species is in grave trouble and that unsustainable trophy hunting is a part of this problem."
Fewer than 32,000 lions are alive today and there are only 400 in all of West Africa. They can be found in just four protected areas, compared to 21 in 2005. There are about 2,000 lions left in Central Africa, 18,000 in East Africa and 11,000 in Southern Africa.
"Lion populations and the habitat available to them have diminished dramatically in recent years due to trophy hunting, bone trade, meat and organ consumption, disease, and agricultural expansion," explains Adam Roberts, who heads Born Free USA. "Born Free and our partners on the ground in Africa
will keep vigilant watch on lions and lion trade to ensure that the
government’s decision today enhances conservation. The lion has no margin for error."
A 90-day public comment period on the proposed Endangered Species ruling starts October 29.
Read our article, Namibia Models Economy Benefits And Wildlife Protection.