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Proposal to Ban Lion Trophy Imports – Australia.

playingcubs

This year alone to date September 2014 we have seen a vast increase of Lions legally hunted for a trophy on some American, Canadian, European or Americas wall, not forgetting those poached illegally. Even with harsh lobbying from International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa and External Affairs Dan Ashe – USFWS Director still debates on whether it is in the best interests of Africa and its current environmental situation to ban Lion trophy imports from Africa into America. (Please click the (USFWS Director link to view the open letter to Dan Ashe)..

So while the United States and the European Union continue to debate on whether it is within the best interests of the African economy to ban importation of Lion trophy parts into the United States and the European Union, Australia is continuing to take the lead that could by the end of 22nd September see Lion trophy imports banned from import from Africa.

Please read the following (in full) and submit your proposals in full in detail to the listed environmental department no later than 22nd September 2014 at the earliest.

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa has now completed their own proposal and will make this public in due course. By listing the Panthera leo as threatened by extinction we have more chance of preserving the species within Africa.

South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and other African countries where Lions are still present are not prepared to ban hunting of Lions. So if they are not prepared to ban hunting then we’ll continue to disrupt the trade in any country possible thus making it harder for hunters to move their trophies from Africa. Eventually we will see this disgusting sport banned.

Please do research before submitting ones proposal. While we do see that “some” eco-tourism business’s may be affected by any change of Appendix those that are, are helping to kill the Lion off directly or indirectly.

Read more here please;

The Australian Department of the Environment is considering whether its definition of the status of the African lion should be amended to a species threatened with extinction.

This would be the equivalent of listing it on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which would affect the regulation of the import and export of lion specimens, including hunting trophies.

Species are listed under CITES based on how threatened they have become through trade:

Appendix I includes species that are currently threatened with extinction (trade can only occur in limited circumstances i.e. conservation breeding, vintage specimens).

Move to tighten import code

Appendix II includes species that are not threatened with extinction now but could become so if trade is not regulated. (Trade in Appendix II species requires a CITES permit, issued only where it can be scientifically proven that trade is sustainable). Find out more here on the differences between each appendices.

Appendix III includes species that are threatened only in one country (trade requires CITES permits or certificates).

Lions are currently listed on Appendix II and are protected under Australia’s national environmental law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The Department said the proposal to introduce a stricter domestic measure for trade in African lions was in response to concerns about trade in lion specimens, including hunting trophies.

It said that if introduced, the proposal would restrict trade in lion specimens to those specimens that meet one of the following criteria:

  • The specimen was obtained prior to the listing of African lion on CITES; the specimen is being traded as part of an exchange of scientific specimens or for research purposes; or as part of a Cooperative Conservation Breeding Program (for live specimens).
  • Lion trophies could only be traded if they could be proven to be pre-Convention specimens (specimens obtained prior to 1976).

The Department said the proposal might have implications for businesses involved in wildlife trade and tourism, other industries and individuals.

It invited submission to help it identify the potential impacts of treating the African lion as an Appendix I species under Australian legislation.

Submissions must be received by 22 September 2014.

Please submit your proposals in full here no later than the above date. 

Please provide your written comments by AEST 5pm 22 September 2014 to:
The Director
Wildlife Trade Regulation
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
CANBERRA ACT 2601
wildlifetrade@environment.gov.au

News in Brief. 

It was alarming to read new research which suggests that the West African Lion may be on the verge of extinction, with just 645 members of the sub-species left in western and central Africa. The study, carried out by conservation group LionAid, finds there are no lions at all in 25 of the region’s countries, and the animal is virtually extinct in 10 others. In Nigeria, once home to a huge community of West African Lions, just 34 remain.

In total, the researchers believe no more than 15,000 wild lions remain across the whole of Africa. A study in 2004 estimated that up to 850 West African Lions remained in the wild. If LionAid’s new figures are correct, about a quarter of the population has been wiped out in less than a decade.

Analysis by Duke University used satellite imaging to confirm nearly 75 percent of Africa’s savannah has been destroyed for lion and wildlife populations, having been converted into farmlands or otherwise encroached on by humanity. The study suggested that there are now just 67 “lion areas” left, and only 10 of these are, in any sense, stable.

The Duke researchers offered a more optimistic estimation of the lion’s survival in Africa, suggesting the population numbers 32,000. However 6,000 of these are believed to be living in areas with a very high risk of local extinction, automatically reducing the estimate by about 19 percent.

Lions and Conservation

The overall picture suggests the inexorable decrease in lion population has been accelerated by a catastrophic rate of habitat loss and increasing human population. Evidence suggests the lion is a growing part of the illegal trade of wild animals and wild animal parts, and this could seal the species’ extinction unless immediate action is taken.

Global Financial Integrity’s (GFI’s) 2011 report on transnational crime in the developing world estimates the total value of the illegal animal trade market at $10bn (approximately £6.2bn). The primary recipients of illegally traded animal parts are the Chinese (who use them in traditional medicine), as well as Americans and countries in the European Union.

Born Free USA, an animal advocacy nonprofit organisation, believes the United States is the largest importer of African lion parts and specifically lion hunting trophies. Speaking to IBTimes UK, Adam Roberts, the executive vice president and co-founder of Born Free, stressed the need to increase protection for the African lion.

Lions and CITES

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement between governments to ensure ill-advised and ruthless international trade in wild animals and plants does not lead to their extinction.
As part of its protective cover, CITES groups the traffic of animals and plants into three categories – Appendix I, Appendix II and Appendix III – with the first denoting the highest category of protection.

The African lion, Panthera leo, is listed in Appendix II, despite the evidence and the consensus of conservationists across the world, who believe pre-emptive action, taken now by uplisting the African lion to Appendix I, could make saving the species a much easier proposition.
A listing in Appendix I will not, unfortunately, eliminate all legal trade in lions. It will only serve to increase the regulations surrounding such trade.

“Trade will be more strictly controlled. In order to engage in trade of a species in Appendix I, there would have to be an export permit from the country of origin but also an import permit from the destination nation. That is different from an Appendix II listing that only requires an export permit. A nation could refuse an import permit for lion trophies from west Africa if they know trade in lion trophies from that region is detrimental to species population,” Roberts explains.

It isn’t just trade to the US that is the problem. In an email exchange with IBTimes UK, TRAFFIC, an organisation that monitors wildlife trade, confirms an increase in trade of lion parts, which they believe are being pushed as a substitute for goods such as tiger bones.
All species of tiger are now listed in Appendix I, making illegal trade in them harder. That possibly is why lions are now being targeted. However, a lack of any in-depth study in this space makes policy work difficult.

International Animal Rescue Foundation has been lobbying the US, EU and Americas for over three years now demanding an end to trophy hunting. I.A.R.F.A. changed their tactics although have not stopped lobbying and meeting environmental ministries within Africa in the hope the will soon with evidence on the table ban Lion trophy hunting. Its pictures such as these below which is a clear indication that no trophy hunter that travels to Africa is traveling to aide conservation. This amazing beast a young Lion was shot with a revolver – a hand gun. It would have taken at least 2-3 shots or more for this Lion to be taken out.

wildwestafrica

 Trophy hunters takes pride killing a Lion in Africa with a hand type gun.  

Trends

In addition to the trade of lion parts for Chinese medicine, as a substitute for tiger parts, research undertaken in Nigeria’s Yankari Game Reserve also suggested lions are being used in traditional African medicine – lion skins are used for back and joint pain, lion skin and lungs for the treatment of whooping cough, and lion veins for erectile dysfunction.

There is also the problem of quotas within CITES regulations. The agreement between participatory nations for legal trade in endangered species limits the transportation of such species to pre-set numbers. In 2011, for example, no more than 10 lions captured in the wild could be legally exported from Ethiopia.

On the face of it, this sounds a good solution to try and limit pressure on wild populations. However, the increase in quotas in recent years is a bad sign. According to information on the CITES Web site, in recent years only Ethiopia has allowed export. In 2012 however, Mozambique suddenly allowed the export of 50 lions captured in the wild per year.

And Roberts reveals an even more shocking new consumer fad – lion burgers. In an investigative study in 2010, Born Free revealed a “proliferation of lion meat advertised on menus in upscale restaurants and burger shops”.

Captive Breeding

Roberts also spoke against the possibility of captive breeding; the idea lions be bred like chickens or cattle, as they are in South Africa, for hunting and slaughter.

“The reason is two-fold. First, there is not an illegal trade in chicken meat or cow meat, the way there is in lion parts. And once you open legal trade in lion parts there is going to be illegal trade or laundering. This is not acceptable.

“Secondly, if you look at the history… where animals have been bred, presumably to reduce pressure on wild populations, it has failed miserably. Chinese tiger farms have not stopped the poaching in India. And the same goes for Asiatic black bears.

“The farming for bears started in Korea in the 1980s and spread to China, to provide Asian markets with bear gall bladders and bear bile. However, the wild population continues to be attacked, either to fill demand or re-stock farms.”

Lions and the Endgame

The lion, African or Asian, is an important part of mankind’s culture, whether or not we choose to believe that fact. The lion’s existence is interwoven into the very fabric of African folklore and daily life and the iconic images of a lion stalking the savannah, the rasping echo of its roar and the bloodcurdling chill of the animal in full flight are sights and sounds that are, in every sense of the word, irreplaceable.

A Jurassic Park-style reincarnation is not a solution. There can be no second chance. We cannot bring the lion back to life after having hunted and butchered every last animal. These are the days that will decide if the lion lives or dies.

Facts about Lions

  1. A century ago there were some 200,000 Lions roaming all over the African continent. Now there are no fewer than a mere 30,000 if that with the lowest estimated figure pointing to a possible 15,000.
  2. Over the last ten years a staggering two thirds of all Lions hunted for sport were imported from Africa into – United States of America. Americans are the largest hunting force within the world standing at a sky-rocketing 16.6 million over the age of 16 and growing yearly.
  3. African Lions have vanished from a whopping 80% of their range of which hunting, habitat fragmentation, human species conflict and unsustainable agriculture are primary causes for Lion depletion’s.
  4. Lions have become extinct in 26 countries. Only seven countries – Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe – are believed to contain more than 1,000 lions each.
  5. Between 1999 and 2008, 64% of the 5,663 Lions that were killed in the African wild for sport ended up being shipped to America, it must also be noted numbers had risen sharply in those 10 years, with more than twice as many Lions taken as trophies by US hunters in 2008 than in 1999. In addition to personal trophies, Americans are also the world’s biggest buyers of Lion carcasses and body parts, including claws, skulls, bones and penises. In the same years, the US imported 63% of the 2,715 Lion specimens put up for sale.
  6. From 1996 – 2008 species populations of Panthera leo has not increased but decreased furthermore seeing few localised extinctions. The African Lion is still listed as vulnerable on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species yet the US Fish and Wildlife Service continue to allow importations of Lion trophies into America.
  7. The main threats to Lions are indiscriminate killing (primarily as a result of retaliatory or pre-emptive killing to protect life and livestock) and prey base depletion. Habitat loss and conversion has led to a number of populations becoming small and isolated.
  8. Demand from the Far East is also driving profits for Lions breeders. In 2001, two Lions were exported as “trophies” to China, Laos and Vietnam; in 2011, 70 Lion trophies were exported to those nations. While the trade in Tiger parts is now illegal, demand for Lion parts for traditional Asian medicine is soaring. In 2009, five Lion skeletons were exported from South Africa to Laos; in 2011, it was 496. The legal export of Lion bones and whole carcasses has also soared.

 

Thank you for reading – Please submit your proposal to ban the importation of Lion trophies and parts from Africa into Australia no later than the 22nd September 2014 17:00 AEST to the address below; 

Please provide your written comments by AEST 5pm 22 September 2014 to:
The Director
Wildlife Trade Regulation
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
CANBERRA ACT 2601
wildlifetrade@environment.gov.au

 

Dr Josa C. Depre 

Chief Environmental Officer. 

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa 

Environmental and Botanical Conservationist 

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