- Title: VARIOUS FILE: Wildlife advocates seek U.S.'endangered' status for African lions
- Date: 3rd March 2011
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (MARCH 1, 2011) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) ADAM ROBERTS, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, BORN FREE USA SAYING "We are playing such a huge role in importing literally thousands of lion parts every year and perhaps one of the most concerning things to us is the trend - not only is the population of lions decreasing in the wild, over the past 30 years the population has been nearly cut in half, but at the same time, the number of lion parts that are being imported into the United States are going up."
- Embargoed: 18th March 2011 12:00
- Location: Kenya, Uganda, Usa
- Country: Usa Uganda Kenya
- Topics: Environment / Natural World
- Reuters ID: LVA9I73021R4W2ACSFPXS5HM704F
- Story Text: A coalition of wildlife advocates sought U.S.endangered status for the animals, saying the battle to save African lions from extinction in their homeland should begin in the United States. The group claims trophy hunting or killing lions for sport is one of the biggest factors contributing to the declining numbers of African lions, already threatened by increasing human encroachments and disease and say the United States is the leading importer of lions and lion parts.
Wildlife conservation groups filed a petition with the Department of Interior on Tuesday (March 1) to list the animals as Endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Adam Roberts, executive vice president of conservation group Born Free USA said listing the animal as Endangered in the United States would make it harder for trophy hunters in America to import lion parts into the country.
"We are playing such a huge role in importing literally thousands of lion parts every year and perhaps one of the most concerning things to us is the trend - not only is the population of lions decreasing in the wild, over the past 30 years the population has been nearly cut in half, but at the same time, the number of lion parts that are being imported into the United States are going up."
Describing the future of African lions as perilous, Roberts said that trophy hunters in America in 2008 imported twice as many lion parts as they did 10 years earlier.
Advocates hope protection for the lions under the Endangered Species Act will help raise global awareness of the plight of the African lion and increase its numbers.
"Look, we saw what happened historically with the tiger. At the turn of the 20th century, there were 100,000 tigers in the wild, now there's fewer than 4000, so we need to learn from our conservation historical mistakes and make sure the same thing doesn't happen to another big cat, in this case, in Africa," said Roberts.
Conservation groups estimate that over the past two decades, the population of African lions has plummeted by at least 48.5 percent to fewer than 40,000 animals as a result of retaliatory killings, loss of habitat and prey species, over-exploitation by recreational trophy hunters and commercial trade, disease, and other human-caused and natural factors.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None