Wild Lion populations have declined by 93 % in just one century.
Their loss signals the loss of the wild in Africa. Less than 20.000 Lions are left in the wild. Lions are extinct in 26 African countries and have vanished from over 90 % of their historic range. Though lions still exist in 27 African countries and 1 Asian country, only seven countries are known to each contain more than 1000 Lions.
Is there a future for Africa’s Lions?
Human population growth is a serious threat, as more and more of the lions’ habitat outside national parks is taken for farmland and livestock production, and populations of prey, like antelopes, buffaloes, and zebras, dwindle. Prey base depletion is linked to habitat loss, but as well to poaching and bushmeat trade. Also important among the causes of decline are indiscriminate killing in defence of human life.
Help us to spread the word all over the world. Read more about the various threats that lion encounter daily. Less than 20.000 wild lions are still roaming Africa. If we don’t act now, the lion species might be extinct in 2050. Read more about the reasons. Spread the word. Join our Facebook Group. We can still turn the wheel!
Across the entire African continent, the lion, a symbol of strength and majesty, is threatened with decline. Habitat Loss is the biggest single threat to Lions. Without a doubt, outside fenced parks and reserves, there is hardly any room left for Panthera leo. Scientists and conservationists warn that the king of the steppes has lost most of his habitat. One of the main reasons is the continuous disappearance of their habitat. With shrinking African grasslands, lion populations have declined dramatically. 350.000 lions that roamed the continent’s dry grassy plains in the 1920s. There are less than 20.000 left today. Land use and the transformation of land through tremendous population growth have chopped up and destroyed the savannah. This habitat shrinkage is even more severe as the rainforest loss. Habitat Loss – the biggest single threat to Lions Lions are top predators in their environment, whether that’s grasslands, desert or open
The Captive Lion Bone Trade Asian traders only started taking an interest in South African lions in 2008 when the decline in tiger numbers became acute. The demand for cat bones in Asia has suddenly become great recently. Many farmers who practised illegal lion hunting in the past and buried the carcasses are now digging up these carcasses to sell to people in the Far East. South Africa’s captive big cat industry has long claimed that lions bones were simply “a by-product” of its globally criticized trophy hunt practices. But, the Extinction Business Report debunks this justification, noting that the exported skeletons include skulls. The captive Lion bone trade took its own detour to a massive growth. From the Extinction Business Report: We have clear evidence that 91% of the ‘lion’ skeletons exported from South Africa in 2017 included skulls. Thus showing that South Africa’s lion bone trade is not a
Trophy Hunting Not much seems to have changed in the appetite for triumphal photos among big-game enthusiasts. So, Ernest Hemingway had this trophy hunting picture made in January 1934. When Hemingway shot this lion, they were thought to number 250.000 or more in Africa. The Lion range covered most of the continent. There were large populations across Turkey, India and southwest Asia, sadly, they exist no longer. While habitat loss and human-wildlife conflicts are the primary causes of the Lions’ disappearance from Africa’s forests and savannahs, legal and illegal trophy hunting adds to the problem. Commercial utilization of wild lion populations is a highly political issue. Sadly, it is largely allowed in many African countries as an allegedly venture to deliver capital. When Cecil, the lion was killed near Hwange National Park in July 2015 by dentist Dr Walter Palmer, the killing provoked an international outcry over trophy hunting of big cats
Canned hunting The definition of Canned Hunting is “a trophy hunt in which an animal is kept in a confined area, such as a fenced-in area, increasing the likelihood of the hunter obtaining a kill.” More than 20 years ago, in 1997, the findings of The Cook Report investigation were presented to the public. The British programme featured Roger Cook travelling the world to investigate serious criminal activity, injustice and official incompetence. It uncovered the inhumane practices of Canned Hunting in a diabolic segment of the trophy hunting industry. According to the report, certain lion breeders were raising lions purely for trophy hunting. South African farmers breed lions in captivity, from cubs to adults, then release them in confined spaces just before the arrival of a hunter who pays about $20,000 to 30,000 for a kill. Sometimes the animal is drugged to make it easier to kill. Fresh meat
The cub petting scam Over 200 lion parks, roadside zoos and scamtuaries in South Africa offer tourists and volunteers the chance of a lifetime. They pay to bottle-feed, cuddle and interact with very young lion cubs. All in the name of conservation. Social Media is flooded with heart-warming images of visitors cuddling lion cubs. Lions walking peacefully alongside volunteers. However, the interaction with these animals is falsely portrayed. The petted cubs are anything but safe, loved and rescued from an otherwise doomed life. The cycle of a captive bred lion’s life begins with being taken from its mother at around 3 days to 3 weeks old. They are then raised by volunteers. Often people are told, the cubs are orphans. They would eventually be released into the wild, but this is completely untrue. This has never happened and probably never will. The lionesses are forced into constant breeding. Further on,
Poisoning means a severe threat to the survival of wild lions as humans encroach on their available habitat. Poison has crippling effects on the lives of humans, animals and the environment for long periods. Michael Schwartz wrote for National Geographic: “The sad reality is that people living near lions don’t have the luxury of simply avoiding them. So, they naturally take matters into their own hands, which unfortunately often ends up with not one, but multiple dead lions, especially when inexpensive poison is involved.” “Human poverty and wildlife act like oil and water. They are mostly incompatible and many tragic poisoning events contribute to wildlife loss in Africa. Cheap poison, available at every corner shop, is used in retaliation against the big cats, but also for unsustainable bushmeat poaching in support of starving families.” Carbofuran is one of the most toxic pesticides, it is often used as a poison in
The primary reason for bushmeat hunting is to acquire meat for human consumption. This occurs nearly entirely in developing countries across Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia. In addition to severe ecological impacts, illegal bushmeat hunting causes serious negative economic and social impacts on lion populations. Killing methods such as snaring are silent and harm many species across the board from ungulates to carnivores and even elephants. The devastating reduction in prey species numbers has a direct effect on the already threatened lion populations. National Geographic Explorer, Derreck Joubert says, “Bushmeat in small quantities is often seen as ‘just substance hunting’ but it has far reaching effects. When poachers enter our national parks and reserves specifically for meat they often target predators simply because it is easier and less dangerous to operate in a predator-free hunting area.” While a few years ago, illegal hunters were motivated by their need to
Lion bone trade is a relatively new revenue stream for the lion breeding industry. And it isn’t a by-product of canned hunting anymore. The reckless exploitation of the lions, whose lives begin as petting cubs for local and international tourists, who are being walked like dogs, before becoming too large to pet and too tame for the wild… and are relocated to farms where hunters pay exorbitant fees to kill them, does not end at that point. Squeezing the last drop out of the lions, the lion farmers are now hawking their bones to the Asian market. Lions’ bones are sold to make fake tiger cake for medicinal purposes, regardless of the fact that there is no medicinal value in them. These bones fetch millions of dollars. Money, money, money… The connection between these areas of operations is easy to determine. But the business has changed recently. While some time
This letter was sent to Minister Edna Molewa by CACH UK upfront to the planned colloquium in August 2018 How the DEA is sabotaging the SA Department of Tourism: see the annexed Nash report from CACH. Everyone knows that lion breeding and canned lion hunting in South Africa has attracted significant international criticism and that this has increasingly damaged South Africa’s image abroad. Yet your Department spends millions every year trying to promote tourism here. What you, and in particular your colleagues in other departments, may be less well aware of is the sheer scale of the overseas reaction. When you see the extent of the damage to SA brand image, you will be shocked. To demonstrate this, retired lawyer David Nash of Campaign Against Canned Hunting ( CACH) UK has prepared the attached review. It lists the huge range of import bans, airline trophy bans, negative press coverage, anti-canned
Cecil the Lion was killed by Walter Palmer in 2015, sparking an international outcry and greater scrutiny of trophy hunting for the heads, skins, or other body parts of wild animals. The thirteen-year-old Cecil had been studied by scientists from Oxford University as part of a project that has run since 1999. Cecil’s death has become a powerful symbol for the misery of African lions. Many have realized that the circle of life is closing on the king of the jungle.
On the face of it, the reasons are not hard to discern: In an era of dwindling wildlife, proliferation of threatened species and large-scale poaching of elephants and other beasts, big-game hunting in Africa does not hold the allure it may have had in Teddy Roosevelt’s day. And Cecil was no ordinary cat.
The 13-year-old lion was a star attraction at the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, out of which the hunters lured him with a carcass, and he wore a collar by which scientists at the University of Oxford had been tracking him since 2008. It was wrong and, according to the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, illegal to kill Cecil.
What can we do?
SUPPORT – Project support is required at many places and for many projects.
ATTENTION – Lions at petting or walking facilities are later shot in canned hunts.
AWARENESS – the iconic Lion species is under major risk of extinction – share our Facebook Page with your friends.
FUNDRAISING – help with fundraising projects and donations – Join our Facebook Group.
CONSCIOUSNESS – there are many places where Lions only bred to be cuddled, photographed, walked with.