Petition Closed
619
Supporters

Ban poaching, canned hunting, poisoning, and trapping of lions. Lion populations have dropped from 450,000 to just 20,000. Their habitats have been chopped up. Unless we recognize saving lions as an emergency and take action now, we will witness the extinction of wild lions, these iconic predators that once ruled from the southern tip of Africa all the way to northwestern India by 2020!

 If we don’t take action, we could wipe out lions and make the planet a poorer place for it.

Letter to
President of the Republic of South Africa Jacob Zuma
Lion numbers have dropped from an already reduced 450,000 down to just 20,000 and possibly even lower today. People have shot, speared, trapped and poisoned lions relentlessly. We have chopped up their habitat, introduced diseases and, lately, we’ve begun to change the climate they—and the rest of us—live in. Most of all, we are swamping them by our sheer numbers. The 20,000 lions cling to the last remaining habitat our 7 billion people have not yet got to.
I strongly believe that unless we recognize this as an emergency and take action now, we will witness the extinction of wild lions—these iconic predators that once ruled from the southern tip of Africa all the way to northwestern India—by 2020.Each year an average of about 500 lion trophies or skins enter the United States from trophy hunting in Africa. If you do the math, you quickly see that this is not sustainable. Because male lions operate in coalitions of two or three, each male lion that is shot leaves the remaining male outmatched in the next territorial fight, and he is expelled. There is no future for expelled lions, so one license effectively kills two males. At the same time his eight females (on average) and their 24 cubs are left without defenders. The new alpha males are genetically wired to kill all cubs and start the breeding process again with their genes. So one license is really cleaning out between 20 and 30 lions each time—and if Americans are responsible for 500 of those licenses, they are effectively killing lions at an enormous rate.
Those who wish to do harm to lions have at their disposal a granular poison known as carbofuran, the most popular of which goes under the trade name of Furadan. This substance, developed by an American company as a crop pesticide, is so toxic that it is banned in the United States and the European Union—but it is widely available in East Africa. A quarter teaspoon kills a lion (and a human) in minutes. A handful sprinkled on an animal carcass wipes out a whole pride that feeds on the carcass, the hyenas that come in afterwards, the vultures and jackals and any insects that settle there. It is a “dirty bomb” against wildlife and the natural world and rapidly becoming the poachers’ weapon of choice.
Another sinister activity that threatens lions (and other big cats) is the trade in their body parts for traditional medicines. There is a burgeoning bone market in Asia for medicines in the ground-up form, or as tea, soup and wine. Drinking tiger or lion bone wine is thought to enhance sexual prowess. It is largely tiger bones that satisfy this need now, but there is no perceivable difference between tiger and lion bone, so lions are being poached for Eastern medicine now as well.
In South Africa recently, the authorities in one province issued permits for a farmer who was previously in the “canned lions” hunting business (a practice where lions are bred and raised in small
enclosures and then shot in a ‘safari hunt’) to now kill 44 of his lions and turn them into bones. These bones will be legally sanctioned and exported to the East. Now, thanks to this action, anyone with illegal tiger bones can claim they are legal lion bones from South Africa.
Unless we recognize this as an emergency and take action now, we will witness the extinction of wild lions—these iconic predators that once ruled from the southern tip of Africa all the way to northwestern India—by 2020.
If we don’t take action, we could wipe out lions and make the planet a poorer place for it.
Yours sincerely,