Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Battle for African lions comes to a head this Sunday

Posted: 1 October 2016. Updated: 1 October 2016


CITES CoP17 Parties are battling over African lions this weekend. Working groups are considering a proposal from nine African nations (Niger, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria and Togo), strongly supported by Botswana and Kenya, to protect against an increasing trade that is devastating wild lion populations. The proposal calls for the uplisting of the African lion to Appendix I and controls on the commercial trade of lion parts and products.

Proponents and supporters, including Niger and the US, have been fighting hard against strong opposition from trophy hunting groups, such as Safari Club International, and certain African nations (primarily South Africa). These opponents want to ensure the commercial trade in lion bones and skin (taken from wild and captive populations through trophy hunting and canned hunting operations) continues, despite its known devastating impact to the species’ survival.

The EU position has waffled and its delegates need to know how concerned EU citizens are for the survival of African lions, and the connections between the growing (currently legal) lion bone trade and criminal poaching networks which are threatening wild populations.

The science identifies dire threats to lion survival, primarily due to the species’ genetic magnificence. Peer-reviewed data clearly demonstrates that increasing international demand for trade in lion bones, skin, and other derivatives contributes significantly to their shocking decline – 43-50% in three generations according to IUCN figures. Other data suggest these numbers are conservative and are very likely an underestimation.

The increasing trade in lion body parts is being fueled by the trophy hunting industry and the captive-bred/canned hunting industry. Local communities are being deprived of potential economical opportunities via eco-tourism, which has been found to generate substantial economic benefit in direct earnings, more than 15 times that for lion “farming” and trophy hunting. Sustainable, non-consumptive tourism provides local communities lasting economic benefit and incentivizes wildlife conservation.

ADI applauds all those taking a strong stance against the loud voices of special interests, and with so much at stake before the Sunday vote, we call for your help to communicate the critical circumstances for African lions. (Given the volatility of talks thus far, a vote may be delayed to Monday.)

ADI supports and echos the proponents’ courage and conviction in presenting their proposal, and all those working to save this devastated species. Time is of the essence as species face increasing threats under man’s shortsighted, selfish greed. African lions need the protection of Appendix I listing; canned hunting operations and commercial trade in lion parts have no place in conservation, but only serve to enable and fuel illicit trade.

ADI is strongly opposed to canned hunting, trophy hunting, and all trade in live lions or their parts and derivatives. We call on all consumer and transit states to recognize their role in perpetuating the lions’ demise and respond with these necessary measures to reduce demand.

Take action

© Animal Defenders International 2020