By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views
African lions may soon be protected under the Endangered Species Act thanks to petitions filed by Born Free USA, Born Free Foundation, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Humane Society of the U.S, the Humane Society International, Defenders of Wildlife and the Fund for Animals.
African lion populations have declined by more than 50 percent in the past three decades, with fewer than 35,000 believed remaining today. Despite the significant and continued declines in population and range, the number of lion trophies imported to the United States is increasing. Listing the African lion as Endangered would generally prohibit the import of lion trophies into the United States, an essential step to reversing the current decline of the population.
“African lions are in danger of losing the land they require in order to thrive, are exposed to a variety of deadly diseases, are slaughtered for their meat and organs or in retaliatory killings– as a result of livestock predation, and are killed for trophies and commercial sale of their parts,” explains Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA. “The U.S. government deserves high praise for taking the necessary first step toward ensuring a chance at survival for this beleaguered species.”
“Today’s decision is an important first step as we work to protect the African lion—a species confronted with mounting threats and a steep population decline,” says Jeff Flocken, DC Office Director, IFAW. “The ESA is the most powerful law we have to safeguard the African lion against the unnecessary threat of U.S. trophy hunters.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued its positive preliminary 90-day finding on the petition to protect African lions under the Endangered Species Act. The agency will next receive information from scientists and the public about the status of the African lion to determine whether an endangered listing would be appropriate.
Here’s how you can help: Starting today, Born Free USA is asking everyone to please contact the Fish and Wildlife Service in support of this petition to list the African lion under the Endangered Species Act. For more information, click here.