Petition U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Call to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (U.S. FWS) to fast track African lions and urgently cover them under the Endangered Species Act*.
The call could also be made for the U.S. FWS to seek CITES Appendix I listing for the African lion – showing that the U.S. FWS has meaning before wild African lions are forced into extinction by the current apathy to their ‘so-called legal’ and ‘illegal’ demise.
*Endangered Species Act
Current U.S. law only provides protection for species whose status on the Endangered Species Act list has been finalised by the U.S. FWS. The African lion has been proposed as an addition to the Endangered Species Act list, but the U.S. FWS has yet to ‘finalise’ the designation (and the process can take over a year to complete)
Note: “Cecil’s Law” is the moniker of a bill introduced by a group of U.S. Senators in July 2015, named in honour of Cecil the lion (may he RIP). The “Conserving Ecosystem by Ceasing the Importations of Large (CECIL) Animal Trophies Act,” has the intent to extend current U.S. import and export restrictions on animal trophies to include species that have been proposed for listing as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The CECIL Act would ensure that species under consideration for protection are also covered by trophy import restrictions by default. The adoption of CECIL’s law would be a welcome step in the right direction and a statement of intent.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora
CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora) has been in force since 1975, it now has some 181 signatory States. The seventeenth regular meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP17) is scheduled to be held in South Africa, September 24 to October 5, 2016.
CITES Appendix I lists species that are the most endangered among CITES-listed animals and plants.
Note: African lion (Panthera leo) populations not currently listed under CITES Appendix I, only the Asiatic and Indian Lion (Panthera leo persica) are currently under Appendix I protection.
In the USA CITES communication falls to the U.S. FWS, with relevant comments pre- CoP17 to U.S. FWS closing on 26 October 2015 (ref U.S. FWS PDF) – So, comments to the U.S. FWS are needed asap.
Note: Lions are in crisis – “Because lions are uniquely visible to tourists there is a false impression that they are not endangered. The opposite is true: they are disappearing in plain sight. From an estimated population of 200,000 across Africa a century ago, and 30,000 a decade ago, as few as 20,000 lions may now roam free in the entire continent. Their numbers have been devastated by loss of habitat and wild prey, poaching, conflict with farming communities, unsustainable legal hunting, and emerging threats including the use of lion bones in traditional Asian medicine. Lions are being killed daily in Africa” – Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (Wild CRU)