To: Dan Ashe, Director, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
USFWS: Protect African Lions under the Endangered Species Act
I learned recently that you are in the process of finalizing needed protections for African lions under the Endangered Species Act. These lions have suffered drastic declines by at least 50 percent in just 30 years and absolutely must be protected under the act.
I am gravely concerned, however, that the proposed protections will allow continued importation of lion “trophies” or carcasses, feeding the market for trophy hunting expeditions and encouraging poaching. This exemption could drastically weaken the protections afforded these iconic, majestic animals.
I am asking you to direct the USFWS to reconsider the (4d) exemption prior to issuing a final rule and prohibit the importation of African lion trophies.
Thank you for your consideration.
Why is this important?
African lions have declined by at least 50% in just three decades. Habitat loss, loss of prey species, human-lion conflict, and poaching have all contributed to this rapid loss.
Following pressure from conservation groups, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed listing African lions as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. The final rule is expected anytime. However, it is simultaneously proposing an exemption that would allow the import of African lion "trophies" (or carcasses) from nations that it determines practice sound conservation.
Allowing lions to be killed by wealthy trophy hunters could further exacerbate the precarious status of these majestic creatures.
Please join us in asking the USFWS to protect lions under the widely successful Endangered Species Act and to prohibit the importation of lion trophies.