Dear Secretary Salazar,
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 urge you to list the majestic African lion species as Endangered Throughout its Range under the Endangered Species Act. Action must be taken now to save this regal animal, and the United States has an opportunity to do just that.
[Your comments will be inserted here]
Lions have disappeared from over 75% of their historic range, and their population has dropped by more than 68% in the last three decades. 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.
However, the majority of U.S. citizens want the African lion protected. A recent poll conducted by Synovate eNation found that 89.8 percent of Americans are supportive of the U.S. government taking action to prevent trophy hunting of African lions endangered with extinction. Additionally, 83.4 percent believe that the U.S. government should be supportive of international efforts to end the commercial trade of lion products. The end result from this poll is clear: I am not alone in believing this beautiful species needs to be protected. In order for that to happen, the upward trend of African lion imports into our country needs to stop.
The fact is, 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.
Thank you for your prompt consideration.