The killing of Cecil the lion (pictured above) five years ago by
an American trophy hunter in Zimbabwe triggered worldwide outrage.
Since then we have been working to end the horrors of trophy
hunting both in the U.S. and abroad. And one of the best ways to do
it is by prohibiting the import of lion trophies to the world’s
three largest importers, the UK, the EU, and the U.S. And together,
with your support, that’s what we’re going to do. Photo by
killing of Cecil the lion five years this week ago by an
American trophy hunter in Zimbabwe triggered worldwide outrage.
Father of a pride, lured with an elephant carcass, wounded by an
arrow, he suffered for hours before being killed by gunshot. As it
turned out, this was a shot heard around the world, giving momentum
to global demand for an end to trophy killing of animals.
Cecil should not have been the victim of such wanton brutality.
He was known and admired by tourists and wildlife photographers
from around the world who came to Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park
to observe him and other animals. He was also the subject of a
long-term research study by scientists.
Sadly, however, Cecil’s fate was not unusual. Every year
dozens of wild lions are killed by trophy hunters in range states.
With as few as 20,000 lions
left in the wild, this majestic species is in serious
But it’s not too late to take the steps needed to stop trophy
killing dead in its tracks.
In their urge to slaughter such majestic creatures, trophy
hunters have long been abetted by government agencies in nations
throughout the world, including the United States. While the U.S.
Endangered Species Act since 2016 has provided oversight for trade
in African lions through a strict permitting requirement for trophy
imports, American trophy hunters continue to travel to Africa to
kill them, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continues to
approve import permits. Recent analysis of the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
(CITES) trade data showed that between 2017 and 2018, the U.S.
signed off on the importation of 150 lion trophies. Among the 150
lion trophies, 19 trophies came from wild lions in Zimbabwe.
In this race to the moral bottom, European trophy hunters are
catching up. In 2017 and 2018, CITES trade data showed that
European Union (EU) member states imported 406 lion trophies,
including 18 wild lions in Zimbabwe. Lions were the fifth most
common trophy species imported into EU member states, with Spain,
Hungary, Germany, and Poland doing the most damage.
In the UK, CITES trade
data found that from 2015 to 2018, the number of imported lion
trophies has doubled. Last December, thankfully, the UK government
launched a consultation concerning its proposed ban on the
import and export of hunting trophies. Humane Society
International/UK responded with a petition signed by 100,000
supporters and is continuing to call for
just such a ban.
There is another facet to trophy killing of which many people
are unaware: the more than 300 captive lion breeding facilities in
South Africa that make an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 animals
available for trophy killing. Here’s how it works. Captive-born
cubs are torn from their mothers just days after birth and
exploited for the “snuggle scam”—tourist selfies or
walking-with-lion safaris. After they grow too big, these
hand-reared lions are funneled to canned lion hunt facilities.
Trophy hunters pay to shoot them in fenced enclosures where
there’s nowhere to run. The shooters bring home their trophies,
while the leftover bones are sent to Asia as tiger bone substitutes
as the illegal tiger bone trade decimates
The scale of this deadly industry is a shocking one. Of the
EU’s 406 imported lion trophies in 2017 and 2018, 312 came from
captive lion hunt facilities in South Africa. Shockingly, the
United States is itself home to many canned facilities, which offer
their own array of threatened and endangered species for the
We’re doing a lot to challenge trophy hunting and
international trade of trophies throughout the world, but our most
important priority in the U.S. at present is the passage of the
Prohibiting Threatened and Endangered Trophies Act of 2019
(ProTECT) Act, introduced by Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-T.X., Ted
Lieu, D-C.A., and Peter King, R-N.Y. The bill will help prevent the
hunting of any species listed as endangered or threatened under the
Endangered Species Act, disallow killing ESA-listed species at
canned hunting facilities in the U.S. and ban the import of
trophies of ESA-listed species to the U.S.
Given the progress we’ve made in recent years, it’s already
clear that Cecil did not die in vain. But there is much more to be
done to expand his legacy, and one of the best ways to do it is by
prohibiting the import of lion trophies to the world’s three
largest importers, the UK, the EU, and the U.S. And together, with
your support, that’s what we’re going to do.
Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative
Putting an end to lion trophy hunting in memory of Cecil
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Source: FS – Pets – A Humane Nation
Putting an end to lion trophy hunting in memory of