Help Save African Lions from Extinction

For centuries, lions have loomed large in our cultural imagination, not least because of their powerful symbolic meaning as icons of great strength, fierce courage and loyalty. And today, they badly need our help. Their wild nature is beautifully captured in a new National Geographic film entitled The Last Lions, now showing in selected cities.

The story follows a single lioness fighting to defend her cubs as they struggle to survive in the Okavango Delta wetlands of Botswana. This film, created by Beverly and Dereck Joubert, reminds us that even lions live on a knife’s edge, and the threats to them are as severe as they’ve ever been.

It’s not just the lions in the Okavango Delta that face such threats. There are people who poison lions for predator control purposes. And while that poisoning is appalling and unacceptable, it’s even more infuriating that trophy hunters, mainly Americans, travel to Africa to kill these majestic animals and then bring home their heads, hides and other body parts.

For decades, the African lion population has been in a steady and dangerous decline. It has been nearly cut in half over the past 30 years. Lion habitat and prey species have diminished, forcing lions to retreat from much of their historic range. Although lions continue to live in 27 countries, many are in groups too small and isolated from other populations to survive. 

During this period, the United States has emerged as the clear leader in importing trophies from sport-hunted lions. The number of lion trophies imported to the United States doubled from 1999 to 2008 (the latest year that statistics are available) — with parts of at least 3,600 wild African lions imported to our country.

This additional pressure — especially destructive for a social species, with tight family networks — is the last thing that lions need, especially with all of the threats they face. Some estimates put total lion numbers throughout Africa at just 23,000 — more than the number of tigers in the wild, but clearly in the danger zone for survival of the species.

Yesterday, the HSUS and our international arm, Humane Society International, as well as several other organizations, petitioned the United States Department of the Interior to list the African lion as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

Listing the African lion as endangered would significantly benefit this iconic animal by prohibiting the importation of African lion trophies into the United States, unless it serves a demonstrable conservation purpose.

The Department has 90 days to decide if it will move forward with our petition. Please take a moment today to sign onto a letter of support that we will send to the Department once it opens a public comment period.

It’s not too late to save the magnificent African lion, but we must act now. And that’s exactly what we did by filing this petition.

Related: Watch a trailer to help ‘The Last Lions’

Related Stories: 

Canned Lion Hunting Is Cruel: Activist Spotlight

Wildlife Smuggling Ring Broken Up In Central Africa

Church Uses Caged Lion to Symbolize Satan


Photo credit: Nicolas Raymond via SXC


Jenkins Malcom
Jenkins Malcom1 years ago

im loving this

Lynn D.
Lynn D.3 years ago

It would be so very sad to lose Lions! Thanks!

Jeanne C.
Jeanne Crabb3 years ago

Let's leave the animals alone. Just leave the animals alone.

Cindy L.
Cindy L.3 years ago

I am with you Monica A. I would also support hunters hunting each other. I'd even sign up and participate... that'd be fun! At least these so called "hunters" would be aware of what is happening to them while on the chase. They're sadistic and despicable! May they experience the same pain they have caused in animals while hunting them sometime in their life!

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B.4 years ago

thanks for telling the world

Monica A.
Monica a.4 years ago

I would like for hunters to create their own tournaments and hunt each other. Who do they think they are to hunt any living creature. They are just a bunch of cave, primitive, ignorant who have not evolved.

TRUDY NICKOLS4 years ago


Phyl M.
Pho M.4 years ago

Wildlife & wilderness are always under fire from greedy hateful humans. When will greed & hate ever subside? When will humans truly live in a world that has such a diversity & accept it?

Linda Jarsky
Linda Jarsky4 years ago

"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. ---St. Francis of Assisi..."

Inbal Gamliel
Inbal Gamliel5 years ago

I would like to help if I can!
I signed of course the petition