Trophy hunting, involving the selective killing of wild animals for ‘sport’ is controversial. Some argue that hunting brings conservation funding into a country through hunting permits. However, not only are the steepest declines in lion populations seen in countries with the highest hunting intensity but it has now been shown that the funds reaching the local community are miniscule.
Recently Born Free USA, along with Humane Society International (HSI), The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), commissioned Economists at Large to investigate the facts. The study, published in June 2013, shows that the trophy hunting industry makes a minimal contribution to national incomes (see below)
This information reinforces Born Free’s call for wildlife viewing photographic safaris and other non-consumptive use to be the focus for tourist activities, activities that make a greater contribution to conservation and the African economy without killing lions.
The continental lion population has fallen from an estimate of over 75,000 in 1980 (IUCN) to around 32,000 in 2012 (Duke University), and we fear that the numbers could be as low as 25,000, distributed over only 22% of their historic range. This clearly shows that African lions require increased international protection from all threats, including over-utilization for commercial or ‘recreational’ purposes (trophy hunting). Between 1999 and 2008 off-take for recreational purposes was unsustainable by any standard in at least sixteen of the twenty range States trading in ‘wild-source’ lion parts.
Previously, the Born Free Foundation and Born Free USA, together with representatives of IFAW, HSUS, HSI and Defenders of Wildlife, submitted a Petition to the United States Secretary to the Interior calling on him to designate the African lion as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). As of November 2012 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is deciding whether the species warrants such protection. A successful listing is a step towards greater protection for African lions as it would make it extremely hard for lion hunting trophies to be legally imported into the US.
How you can help:
Please write to your local MP and the Secretary of State for Defra (details below) asking them to take a lead in calling for the European Union to take urgent action to introduce an EU wide lion hunting trophy import ban from both canned hunting and wild sources. With lion populations in such rapid decline we must act now to save this magnificent species:
Rt. Hon. Owen Paterson MP
Secretary of State for Defra
House of Commons