Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Something to roar about!

The Scientific American blog this week reported that the African lion (Panthera leo leo) is now closer to protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA).   Protection under the ESA doesn’t prohibit Americans from hunting African lions, but it would prohibit african lionthose hunters from bringing their trophies home to the U.S.  Why did the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service move the big cats one step closer to protection?  As stated in the Scientific American blog, “ African lion populations have declined by about 50 percent over the past three decades. Current estimates put the total number of the big cats at fewer than 35,000.  Trophy hunting hardly poses the greatest threat to lions—which also suffer from habitat loss, the bushmeat trade, exotic diseases, conflict with livestock farmers and the often illegal trade in lion parts for use in traditional medicine, most of which is fueled by poaching and smuggling—but when you add up the numbers, hunters do have a significant impact on the big cats. According to data gathered for last year’s petition, more than 7,000 lion body parts were traded internationally between 1999 and 2008 for recreational trophy hunting purposes, representing more than 5,600 lions. The vast majority of those trophies were imported into the U.S. by, or on behalf of, American hunters.”
If you’d like to learn more about African lions and see the work of two nature photographers who have been documenting lion behavior for over 30 years, check out this week’s report on 60 minutes

Scientific American.  2012.  African Lions Move Closer to U.S. Endangered Species Act Protection.  November 27, 2012.  Accessed November 28, 2012.

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