Lions Need Help
© Ronn Maratea
It’s hard to believe a population can plummet so quickly. In the 1940s, an estimated 450,000 lions roamed across most of Africa and parts of Asia. Today African lions number as few as 40,000, occupying just 22 percent of their historical range. Given this alarming decline, Defenders of Wildlife and other groups are petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the African lion under the Endangered Species Act. Listing lions would focus global attention on their plight, prohibit the importation of lion trophies and body parts into the United States and could encourage Congress to provide funding to start up lion conservation projects in Africa.
From 1999 through 2008, the United States imported at least 4,800 lion trophies, and that number is on the rise. In 2008, trophy imports to the United States were greater than any other year and more than twice the number in 1999.
“The U.S. government must recognize that the African lion is in danger of extinction throughout a significant portion of its range,” says Bob Irvin, Defenders’ senior vice president for conservation programs. “We must take a leadership role in raising awareness of the threats that lions face and bring greater scrutiny to our own role in the international lion trade. It is our responsibility to make sure that Americans are not contributing to the elimination of Africa’s most iconic wildlife species. Instead, we should be supporting efforts to conserve these majestic cats before it’s too late.”
Defenders Takes the Prize
200,000 Thank Yous!
Your loyalty to Defenders and to wildlife made us proud. By rising to the challenge, joining Members Project® and casting your votes every week WE WON $200,000! We can’t thank you enough for helping us save something wild.
You Did It!
Thanks for your phone calls and emails in support of wild bison! In January, Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks commissioners unanimously voted in favor of finding bison new homes on state and tribal lands across Montana. This means that some of the last genetically pure bison in Montana could eventually be restored to the lands they once roamed. This is a step forward for bison recovery in Montana and across the region, and your efforts helped make it happen.
More good news came for bison in February, when Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer temporarily saved hundreds or more Yellowstone bison by blocking their shipment into Montana for slaughter. This is not a long-term solution, however.