Ban trophy hunting – save the lions!

A pair of lions Lions have been wiped out in twelve African countries. (© Property#1 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))

Africa is losing its lions: within only four decades, their population has been decimated by 90 percent. Humans are destroying and fragmenting their natural habitat, while trophy hunters are killing thousands of Africa’s iconic big cats. Please speak out for better protection of lions and their habitat.

Call to action

To: the presidents of South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia

Africa’s lion population has plummeted by 90 percent in only 40 years. The iconic big cats and their habitat urgently need better protection.

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Only forty years ago, 200,000 lions roamed Africa. Since then, the population has plummeted to just over 20,000 – a 90 percent decrease. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has classified the lion as “Vulnerable” on its Red List. The iconic big cats have been wiped out in twelve African countries, and possibly as many as sixteen.

The greatest threat lions face is the increasing fragmentation and destruction of their habitat by humans. In many places, the populations of prey animals have also dwindled dramatically.

Trophy hunting is a serious menace, especially in South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia, where wealthy tourists pay five-figure sums for the “privilege” of shooting a lion. The killing of a dominant male is particularly devastating, as males taking over a pride kill the cubs of their predecessors. Shooting a single dominant male lion can thus mean the deaths of up to twenty lions in total.

As if traditional trophy hunting were not barbaric enough, in South Africa, lions are being bred specifically to be shot. The “king of the jungle” is thus being turned into a factory-farmed trophy. More lions live in captivity there than in the wild, and around 1,000 are killed every year. Canned "hunting” of captive and virtually tame lions does not reduce the pressure on their wild counterparts – it often serves as a gateway drug to hunting wild lions.

Please call on the presidents of South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia to put solid protections for lions in place by banning all forms of hunting, establishing protected areas and strictly enforcing the security of existing wildlife reserves.

Back­ground Letter

To: the presidents of South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia

Dear Mr. President,

Lions are among the most majestic wildlife of your country. Observing them in the wild is an unforgettable experience for tourists from around the world.

Yet lion populations are collapsing throughout Africa. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has classified the lion as “Vulnerable” on its Red List.

The main driver of the population decline is the fragmentation and destruction of their habitat. Trophy hunting is also a serious threat.

Please save Africa’s lions: we call on you to put an end to conventional and “canned” trophy hunting, establish protected areas and ensure that existing protections are enforced effectively.

Sincerely,

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