Once numbering over one million by some estimates, African lions now exist in a fraction of their former range and fewer than 35,000 remain in the wild.
African lions have been slipping away at an alarming rate--dropping by 50% in just 30 years--due to habitat loss, disease, loss of prey species, conflicts with humans, and unsustainable trophy hunting and trade in lion parts. We could begin to address these threats by protecting African lions throughout their remaining range under the Endangered Species Act.The United States is the world's largest importer of lion "trophies." Protecting lions under the Endangered Species Act would put needed, strict limits on the import and sale of lion "trophies" and parts. This crucial step towards saving African lions is a long time coming; lions are the only big cat that has yet to be granted Endangered Species Act protections.
It's not too late for African lions. We can begin to stop the disappearance of the "king of the jungle", but we need to act now. Man-made threats to their survival can begin to be controlled, giving African lions a fighting chance to come roaring back.
I am writing to urge that the USFWS list the African lion as "Endangered Throughout its Range" under the Endangered Species Act.
Lions have disappeared from over 80% of their historic range, and their population declined by nearly 50% from just 1980 to 2002. The threats facing African lions today are numerous and reinforcing: habitat destruction and fragmentation, loss of traditional prey species, disease, and inevitable conflict with humans.
An additional threat that cannot be discounted is unsustainable trophy hunting and commercial trade in lion parts. The United States is by far the world’s largest importer of both commercially traded African lion parts and lion trophies. This trend is only increasing.
African lions are endangered throughout a significant portion of their range and as such, they meet the criteria of an Endangered listing under the Endangered Species Act. If listed as Endangered throughout their entire range, the importation of African lions and their parts into the United States would be banned.
Since the United States is the largest importer of African lion parts, listing them as Endangered would be a significant step in ensuring the long-term survival of this iconic and magnificent species.
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