The International Fund for Animal Welfare – 2015-01-12 16:27:51
Our Last Chance to Protect African Lions
Jeffrey Flocken /International Fund for Animal Welfare
(January 2015) — I have good news for the African lion, but they still need your help. IFAW and a coalition of other wildlife organizations filed a petition to list the African lion under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) in March 2011.
The good news — fantastic news — is that the US Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to list the African lion under the ESA. This means the African lion — the last big cat to be listed under the ESA — will finally be afforded US federal protections.
The Service’s proposal includes a special rule that would require US trophy hunters to acquire an import permit before bringing their trophy into the US Under this system trophy imports will only be granted by FWS if the country of origin has a sound scientific management plan in place for the species.
This means the open door policy on lion trophy imports that currently exists will now be monitored. It also means that countries that benefit from the killing of this majestic species will also have to take their survival seriously.
The US is responsible for importing over half of the hundreds of lion trophies brought home by trophy hunters globally each year. The fate of the African lion should not be left in the hands of a few wealthy American trophy hunters. Tell the Service that you support the proposed Threatened listing as well as the implementation of a permit system to monitor and control trophy imports.
African lions are facing increasing threats in the wild. We have a duty as global citizens to protect this iconic species.
Take Action to Protect the Lions
It is critical that the US government hears from the American people and understands that lions need and deserve the recent proposed protections in order to help secure their future in the wild.
Please submit a comment to US Fish and Wildlife Service letting them know that you support the proposed decision to list the African lion as Threatened and that you are in favor of the proposed permitting system to ensure lion populations are managed properly. By doing so, you will support the protection of the remaining lions left in the wild.
Contact US Fish & Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. We will submit all letters together to Fish & Wildlife Service. We have prepared a template email for you to send. If you prefer, you can personalize this copy to make it more effective. Please ensure that you are polite at all times. Tell US Fish & Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe that FWS should protect African lions and that they should go forward with the Threatened listing and special permit rule.
Dear Director Ashe,
As a supporter of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and someone who is gravely concerned about the future of African lions in the wild, I thank you for proposing to list the African lion as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) with a required import permit for sport-hunted trophies.
Over the last year, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service received over 380,000 comments in response to the petition to list the African lion under the ESA — a vast majority of those in favor of an Endangered listing throughout the speciesâ€™ range.
With that said, although the species deserves and is need of complete protections from US trophy hunters, I commend the Serviceâ€™s recent proposal to list the African lion as Threatened across its range. It is clear from recent studies, which estimate that as few as 32,000 lions remain, that these populations are in dire need of help.
In addition to the proposed listing decision, we are pleased with the Serviceâ€™s decision to include a new permitting system to monitor and control the import of sport-hunted lion trophies into the US.
By limiting and controlling the import of trophies from countries that have a scientifically sound management plan for the species, it will encourage range states to take the future of their lion populations seriously. It will also ensure that US trophy hunters are not further contributing to the speciesâ€™ downfall.
The fact is, African lions are struggling across their range and US trophy hunters are playing an increasing role in their demise. The US has been in the past, and continues to be today, by far the worldâ€™s largest importer of lion trophies.
The United Stateâ€™s proposed protections and permitting system are long over-due, and desperately needed.
Please ensure African lions get the protections they deserve by, at the very least, listing them as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act and implementing a permitting process to protect lions from unregulated and prolific killing.
Thank you. Don’t let a few Americans who kill animals for sport determine the fate of the African lion. Tell the FWS to protect lions.
Jeffrey Flocken is the IFAW’s Regional Director for North America
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.