On November 27, 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) published a 90 day finding, announcing that an endangered species listing for the African Lion “may be warranted.” Although the announcement did not take SCI and SCI Foundation by surprise, the FWS’s finding was extremely disappointing. Listing the African Lions as endangered will almost undoubtedly prevent the importation of lion trophies into the United States which will likely inhibit U.S. citizens from hunting lions altogether. An import ban will undermine funding for on-the-ground conservation programs and will not reduce the number of lions taken in range nations. And, without the U.S. market, revenues generated from lion hunting that are allocated to wildlife conservation are likely to plummet.

SCI and SCI Foundation have been working on this issue extensively with range nations in Africa, both to prevent endangered listing under the ESA and to prevent similar restrictions that could be imposed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). SCI and SCI Foundation will help range countries to provide the necessary information to the FWS to demonstrate not only that the facts and science do not justify an endangered listing, but also that listing would be harmful to the conservation of the species. SCI and SCI Foundation will be submitting strong comments to the FWS opposing the proposed listing. Rest assured that SCI and SCI Foundation will be doing everything possible to prevent the African Lion from being placed on the endangered species list.

The FWS’s 90 day finding is only the initial step in the listing process. It does not mean that African Lions are currently on the endangered species list, or that the listing status of the African Lion is predetermined. It does mean, however, that now, more than ever, SCI and SCI Foundation must aggressively fight to prevent the listing of the species. Stay tuned for future alerts on how you can help SCI and SCI Foundation carry out this important mission.

Logo courtesy Safari Club International

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4 thoughts on “SCI: Status Review of African Lions Could Impact Conservation Programs

  1. Are you mentally handicapped or just pure evil. It must be one of the two. Lets do some maths here. I have ten lions, you kill six of them, now I only have four. Unless the definition of conservation has changed that looks a little strange. Oh and the money that supposedly goes back in cant replace lives. May your entire organization and its members enjoy your lifetime vacation in HELL!

  2. Apparently you are the one with mental issues. Conservation means the management of species through sustainable use practices. No one is going to shoot 60% of lions and call it conservation. Typically males are seen as the best trophies. Studies have shown that if males of 6 years old or more are hunted there will be zero decline in the lion population and in extreme cases the population actually increased under this management strategy (Whitman et al 2007). Lets factor in the hunting of females and do some math of our own here. A typical lioness will begin to breed at 4 years old and will have a litter of cubs once every 20 months or so, averaging 3 cubs per litter. Typically only 1 or 2 survive to adulthood due to natural causes. Once the cubs are 20 months or older the female will cycle again, with a conception rate of 95% pregnancy is almost guaranteed. If we had a theoretical population of 20 female lions this would mean that there would be anywhere from 7-10 cubs that are born and survive each year, factoring in the delay between birthing cycles of course. The numbers presented above come from The Behavior Guide to African Mammals (2012). On average, outfitters I know that conduct lion hunts only take 10-20% of their females. At most this would reduce the population to 16 in the first year, however we still have those 7 born that survived. Communal suckling has often been observed in lions so on the off chance a lioness harvested had a cub the rest of the pride would raise it, again you can fact check me I can provide evidence. By year four at a 10-20% harvest rate we have removed half of the original 20. however we have now recruited those 7-10 original cubs into the breeding population. The following year another 5-7 will be recruited and so on and so forth. This hypothetical situation only works as described in a strictly managed area, typically on a reserve. In the wild the impact of such a limited harvest should be even less dramatic as you have a much larger population to begin with and the ability for lions to immigrate or emigrate to and from other areas.

  3. As for your comment on money. No, the money does not replace the life of the lion that was harvested. But it does bring value to the lives of the remaining lions. If a local cattle herder receives nothing in return for lions the lion has no value. The lion is now his enemy that kills the herder’s cattle, as such the herder believes the lion should be destroyed in order to protect his cattle. However, if each lion is valued at $50,000 (this is just an average, in some places lion hunts can sell for over twice this figure) and the local people get a cut of that, now they have a reason to tolerate the lions. So yes, one lion dies but how many more are allowed to live because of that?

  4. Is there anyone at Safari Club International I could interview about this issue? I am doing a research paper for Cornell University and I am having trouble finding an expert about the African Lion at SCI. Thank you!

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