South Africa wants to promote trade in the body parts of captive-bred lions, arguing that its big cat population has increased by 30 percent over the past 30 years and is not endangered, according to a report on Yahoo News.
However, conservationists argue that a legal trade in lion body parts in South Africa will have a devastating effect on lions in other countries, as they will become more targeted by poachers. Will Travers from the Born Free Foundation said in the report: “They don’t think about how other nations will be stressed by lion body part trade."
Moreover, lion populations across the African continent have plunged from a high of 200,000 30 years ago to about 15,000 today, according to LionAid. Nigeria has only 34 lions left, West and Central Africa have about 645 wild lions, and lions are extinct in 25 African nations and almost extinct in 10 others.
Nonetheless, South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs has recommended the International Union for Conservation of Nature downgrade the country’s lions from their current status as ‘vulnerable to extinction’ and reclassify them as a species of ‘least concern.’
More than ever, lions – both wild and those living in captivity - need to be protected. The South Africa government can raise revenue by others means, such as improving tourism opportunities. Will you join me in urging the South African government not to allow a legal trade in lion body parts as it will only expose lions everywhere to poaching for the lucrative body part trade?
Please sign and share the petition.