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Help Save African Lions from Extinction

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


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Photo credit: Nicolas Raymond via SXC

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3:16AM PST on Mar 9, 2013

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

9:45PM PST on Nov 12, 2012

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

3:35PM PST on Nov 10, 2012

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!

6:44PM PDT on Aug 19, 2012

thanks for telling the world

4:30PM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

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.

3:06PM PDT on Aug 16, 2012


7:52AM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

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?

9:59PM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

"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..."

6:27AM PDT on Aug 15, 2011

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

7:22AM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

This is a very sad story. Other animals and plants have to go only because "we" humans do not want to share the world with other life forms, these life forms "we" would not eat (vegetarian food is not a bad idea, or eating with conscience as the so called primitive cultures did and still do, if they still exist. No meat/fish every day). "We" destroy everything around us and "we" forget, that everything is important to survive, too.

As little child i thought that rain is when God and the angels cry - because "we" humans have forgotten that we need this "intelligence", someone who could help... if "we" hadn't turned away for many centuries ago...

"Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."
(Native American proverb)

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

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Judy Molland An award-winning writer and teacher, Judy Molland is also an avid hiker, backpacker, and nature... more
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