CONGRESS: BAN IMPORT OF LION TROPHIES & PARTS BY LISTING AS ENDANGERED SPECIES
Messages Sent So Far
EDGE OF EXTINCTION: AFRICAN LION "JUNGLE KING" UNDER THREAT FROM THE AMERICA:
American hunters are emerging as a strong and growing threat to the survival of African lions, with demand for trophy rugs and necklaces driving the animals towards extinction, a coalition of wildlife organisations has said.
Demand for hunting trophies, such as lion skin rugs, and a thriving trade in animal parts in the US and across the globe have raised the threat levels for African lions, which are already under assault because of conflicts with local villagers and shrinking habitat.
"The African lion is a species in crisis," said Jeff Flocken of the International Fund for Animal Welfare. "The king of the jungle is heading toward extinction, and yet Americans continue to kill lions for sport."
Two-thirds of the lions hunted for sport were brought to America over the last 10 years, a report released by the coalition said.
The organisations, which include IFAW, the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International, Born Free and Defenders of Wildlife, called on the White House to ban the import of lion trophies and parts by listing the animals as endangered species.
The number of wild African lions has fallen sharply in the last 100 years, the organisations said. A century ago, as many as 200,000 roamed across Africa. Now, by some estimates, fewer than 40,000 remain in the wild; others put the figure for survivors at 23,000, and they have vanished from 80% of the areas where they once roamed.
Lions have become extinct in 26 countries. Only seven countries Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe are believed to contain more than 1,000 lions each, according to the Panthera conservation group which is not part of the coalition making the appeal.
The single biggest threat by far to the animals' survival is humans, though not necessarily western hunters. "It is just the very, very widespread killing of lions, mostly in a conflict situation, by anyone who is trying to farm livestock in Africa and finds it very difficult to co-exist with lions," said Luke Hunter, the executive vice-president of Panthera.
There is also a lot of pressure on lion habitats with wilderness areas shrinking to build roads such as the controversial highway across the Serengeti or to make room for agriculture.
But the report by the wildlife coalition, filed with the White House on Tuesday, said western hunters were a growing danger to the lions' survival.
Between 1999 and 2008, 64% of the 5,663 lions that were killed in the African wild for sport ended up being shipped to America, it said. It also said the numbers had risen sharply in those 10 years, with more than twice as many lions taken as trophies by US hunters in 2008 than in 1999. In addition to personal trophies, Americans are also the world's biggest buyers of lion carcasses and body parts, including claws, skulls, bones and penises. In the same years, the US i
Post Public Comments
1,396 Public Comments So Far
View More Comments: