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Coalition Requests ESA Listing
On March 1, 2011, a coalition of wildlife protection and conservation organizations — Born Free USA and Born Free Foundation, Defenders of Wildlife, The Fund for Animals, Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare — petitioned the secretary of the interior to list the African lion (Panthera leo leo) as an endangered subspecies pursuant to the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Most U.S. states and Canadian provinces and territories classify the black bear as a game animal; four U.S. states confer no legal status, and thus no legal protections for black bears. Black bears can be legally hunted in 27 U.S. states. Many of these states allow hunting practices deemed cruel and “unsporting,” including spring hunts, baiting, hounding, and the selling and trade of bear parts. It is estimated that between 40,000 to 50,000 bears are legally hunted in the U.S. each year; an unknown number are also illegally poached.
- Countless wild animals are displaced by urban sprawl and habitat fragmentation, which sometimes lead to conflicts between people and wildlife.
- Millions of wild animals, including reptiles, large felines, nonhuman primates, and others, are kept in private possession in the U.S. The trade in exotic animals is a multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry.
- Trafficking in rare and exotic wildlife is a global business, worth $10-20 billion annually. Birds are among the most popular animals sought after for the exotic pet trade.