1. African Lions
“Every summer, some chef somewhere comes up with the idea of serving lion tacos or lion burgers,” said zoologist Teresa Telecky, director of wildlife at Human Society International in Washington, D.C.
In the last few years, lion meat has shown up on menus from California to Kansas. And even though lion burgers often spark outrage among the public, it’s not illegal for chefs to buy, cook, or sell the meat.
For now, lions are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN — a step below endangered and two steps below critically endangered. That status hasn’t been reviewed in years, Telecky said, even though lion numbers have dropped by 50 percent in the last two or three decades. The top predators now occupy just 25 percent of their original habitat.
“If a restaurant owner wakes up one day and says, ‘I know how to boost sales,’” Telecky said, he can “legally order lion meat from any exotic meat dealer.”