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The African Lion Needs
Endangered Species Act Protection

The Quest to List the African Lion as Endangered

On November 27, 2012, the Department of the Interior declared that our joint petition to list the African lion as "endangered" under the U.S. Endangered Species Act may be warranted. From now through January 28, 2013, there is a 60-day comment period during which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking scientific, commercial, and other data in support of classifying the lion as endangered.

Read the Petition

The African lion is in crisis. Experts agree that fewer than 40,000 remain in the wild. The species faces imminent danger of extinction throughout significant portions of its range due to several unabated threats, including over-exploitation by recreational trophy hunting and commercial trade, loss of habitat and prey species, retaliatory killings, disease and other human-caused and natural factors.

The United States has the shameful distinction of being the world's largest importer of lion trophies and parts (otherwise known as "specimens"). Yet the nation does not show any signs of halting this unsustainable over exploitation. The number of lion parts imported into the United States in 2008 was more than twice the number in 1999. Many of these imports came from African countries where lion off-take is unsustainable.

By listing the African lion as endangered under the ESA, the United States would have the opportunity to finally be part of the solution. U.S. importation of lion parts would be prohibited unless such imports are determined to enhance the survival or propagation of the species or are for scientific purposes. The listing also would encourage the United States to support African range countries in their efforts to protect lion habitat, and heighten global awareness of the immediate need to protect lions from extinction.

(Read about our 2011 undercover investigation into the lion meat trade.)

Time is running out for the African lion. Born Free USA urges the government to respond to the petition in a timely manner before it's too late.

And you can stay informed on the ESA Petition and help save the King of the Jungle and other wildlife by joining our Action Alert Team.

Trophy Hunting

Born Free USA has been leading the charge against the trophy hunting of lions. A trophy hunt is essentially a private or commercial hunt in which hunters pay for the right to hunt, kill, and, largely, keep all or portions of the carcass. The U.S. is the world's largest importer of African lion trophies and parts: one of the main reasons why fewer than 40,000 lions remain in the wild. Between 1999 and 2008, 7,090 lion specimens, reported to be from a wild source, were traded internationally for recreational trophy hunting purposes.

A prevalent and absurd pro-trophy hunting argument is that these hunting revenues are returned back into local economies, and back into conservation efforts. This argument simply does not hold water.

Research published by the pro-hunting International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and supported by other authors, finds that hunting companies contribute only 3% of their revenue to communities living in hunting areas. Across the investigated countries, trophy hunting revenue amounted to only 1.8% of tourism revenue.

Lion Meat

A surprising and appalling trend has spread in restaurants and bars across the United States: the offering of lion meat in the form of burgers and tacos, and on pizza. There is a complete lack of government oversight for this unregulated industry of raising, butchering, processing, and eating lions. In response, Born Free USA undertook a year-long investigation into the sale of lion meat for human consumption. Read more about our investigation and its findings here.

For more information, please see: