World Lion Day
Today, on the advent of World Lion Day, the world focuses on these creatures in all their beauty and majesty. However, as with so many other species, lions are in dire danger as their numbers decline daily.
There is an urgent and unprecedented need to uplift their protection status to curb the trade and related activities that are so clearly threatening their survival.FOUR PAWS is campaigning for an end to the exploitative trade in big cats and operating sanctuaries to save those from abusive captivity.
Africa’s lion population has reduced by approximately 43% over the past 21 years according to the IUCN. This big cat species (Panthera leo) is listed by the IUCN as Vulnerable; facing a high risk of extinction in the wild. An estimated 20,000 lions are left in the wild. They are extinct in 26 African countries and have disappeared from 90% of their historical roaming grounds. Sub-Saharan Africa is developing and expanding at a rapid rate, resulting in the lions facing habitat destruction, loss of their prey base to the bush meat trade and, ultimately, human-lion conflict.
Whilst South Africa hosts the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP17) in Johannesburg, South Africa later this year, the country remains the proponent of captive breeding lions for commercial gain. There are currently more lions kept in captivity for canned hunting purposes than there are in the wild. None of the animals being kept in captivity can be used in relocation or conservation programmes as they are often tame and genetically contaminated. A proposal has been submitted to CITES by Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, the Niger, Nigeria and Togo to have lions status up listed from Appendix II to Appendix I, whilst Southern African countries claim no decline in numbers and want to be able to continue in the fashion a la Cecil.
FOUR PAWS believe that all lions should be placed on Appendix I in order to protect the species and are deserving of the same protection. Other solutions leave the door open for poachers and smugglers to continue their actions in Central and North Africa, being able to smuggle their products through the porous borders into Southern Africa. From Southern Africa they will be able to utilize legal means of exporting their products to the international market.
Experts claim that at this rate, it is estimated that lions will be extinct in the wild by 2050. In this day and age such an atrocity should not be allowed to happen. FOUR PAWS calls upon the collective reasoning of government officials to ensure that the lion receives the dignity, respect and protection needed to flourish and once again claim its rightful title as King of the Beasts.
Sign our petition today: www.realtrophy.org