In the last three decades wild African lions have declined by nearly fifty percent. Even so, they are not listed in the United States as an endangered species yet. Consequently, there are still some visitors to Africa who go on safari lion hunts and kill them as trophy animals. This antiquated, needless and barbaric practice is further diminishing an African lion population that is already in trouble.
The Humane Society has an online petition to have the African lion listed as an endangered species and protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. There clearly is no legitimate reason to kill African lions, and their continued slaughter for “sport” is an outrageous waste of life, especially as they are already in such a severe decline.
”There is a real possibility that more African countries will lose their wild lions altogether if the current situation is not reversed…we need to take urgent measures to conserve the African lion before it’s too late, ‘ said Adam Roberts, from the Born Free Foundation. (Source: Humansociety.org)
Canned hunts–hunts for lions that are staged by shooting in an enclosed area when they can’t escape, or by using captive bred lions–result in something even worse than the loss of individuals. Usually it is male lions that are killed, but afterwards the next dominant male in a pride could kill the cubs of the former alpha male.
“Killing the dominant male of a pride (normally the target of a trophy hunt) sets off a chain of instinctive behavior in which the subsequent dominant male kills all the young of the previous dominant male (6-8 estimated deaths result from each male shot).” (Source: enkosini.com)
About 1,000 lions are shot by hunters each year in Africa. Tanzania and South Africa are two of the main providers of lion trophy hunting. Foreign tourists do most of the killing, and each lion costs about $22,000 to shoot.
The United States is the leading importer of lions and lion parts for commercial and recreational trade–this includes skulls, claws, hides, and live lions, according to Teresa Telecky from the Human Society. (Source: Humane Society International)
Some people have tried to argue that big game trophy hunters inject money into the local economies, which is then used for conservation. Humane Society International has flatly rejected that notion, saying that none of the money from canned lion hunts is used for wildlife conservation.
Recently, there has been a furor over the sport killing of another African wild animal by the CEO of a large Internet company. Surely such press must be bad for business, and if the public finds out who is shooting lions for trophy hunting in Africa, they may decide to boycott them.
Image Credit: wwarby