Lions are in danger of extinction, but the U.S. will reward a trophy hunter who killed one with an import permit for the animal’s body parts

By on September 12, 2019 with 20 Comments

For the first time since 2016, when the United States protected lions under the Endangered Species Act, the Trump administration will allow an American trophy hunter to bring home the body parts of a lion he killed in Tanzania. This is the second such instance of the administration’s reckless disregard for global wildlife in under a week; the first involved the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s granting of a permit for the import of an endangered black rhino trophy. Together, these permitting decisions set off alarm bells over just how fast the agency is backpedaling on its mandate of protecting the world’s most at-risk wildlife.

Americans have a sordid history of killing lions in Tanzania. For decades U.S. trophy hunters traveled to the African nation to hunt dozens of these magnificent animals each year and bring their heads and hides back home. But after a successful legal petition filed by the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International and our partners, FWS, in 2016, listed African lions under the Endangered Species Act for the first time, instituting a strict permitting requirement for trophy imports.

Because these permits can only lawfully be issued if the FWS finds that hunting lions in a particular country promotes the conservation of the species, the number of lion trophies being imported from Tanzania had dropped to zero in the last three years. Until now.

There is something very disturbing happening within the FWS. It is baffling why the agency would determine that Tanzania – a country that has long catered to the corrupt trophy hunting industry and forced out competent wildlife biologists – is sustainably managing its lion population. What makes the entire matter even more suspect is that the FWS made the decision to issue this permit behind closed doors, without independent scientific input or public comment.

We are now engaged in a legal battle over the FWS’s pattern of making trophy import permitting decisions without rigorous scientific evaluation and its failure to inform the public in a timely matter about permits it has issued. In our view, one Tanzanian lion trophy import issued is too many. To our great dismay, other records that we’ve had to sue to obtain show that the agency has received more than 40 applications to import lion trophies from Tanzania, indicating that this could be the beginning of a dangerous backslide.

We also continue to be on high alert to see if the agency flip-flops on a decision – in place since 2014 – to prohibit the import of elephant trophies from Tanzania, even as we keep up the fight to get more protections for other animals, like leopards, in Tanzania and across the African continent.

We have taken this fight to Congress and we urgently need your help to help pass a bill that would prohibit the import of lion and elephant trophies from Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Please call your lawmakers today and urge them to support the Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large (CECIL) Animal Trophies Act, named for the legendary lion who was killed in 2015 by an American trophy hunter.

It’s too late for Cecil and other lions killed for their body parts. But for the sake of all imperiled endangered animals, let’s end this war being waged against them by a handful of trophy hunters with the blessings of our government, and stand strong for a renewed American commitment to the strongest possible protection for imperiled wildlife everywhere.

Humane Society International, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Ewa Urbanski says:

    Alle diese Menschen auch die Regierung sind korrupt und kriminell auch der Pressident der USA gehört dazu. Sie sollten zu Rechenschaft gezogen und bestraft werden!!!!!!

  2. Gina DiVito says:

    This is disturbing, what can we do?

    • Ben says:

      Nothing, trophy hunting is helping the conservation effort. The money spent goes to conservation efforts and the money from one lion will protect hundreds of lions so this article is misleading. Without trophy hunting the population is most likely gonna start to go down again because lack of funding and humans encroaching

      • Shannon Thomas says:

        So conservation only works if a trophy hunter gets to kill a lion? And they kill a lion for body parts to be stuffed as an accessory in their home? Such bullshit. If they actually cared about animals they wouldn’t need to kill them and they would donate money to saving them. But, yeah, it doesn’t work like that does it?

        What a mockery. Kill an animal to save an animal.

  3. Susan Caterina Guerra says:

    Thank you for saving animals of all kinds. We need them!❤

  4. Kara says:

    Just nothing safe and protected anymore? How can the protections that have been in place for years be so quickly dismissed by one person?

  5. Susan Harnisch says:

    Spare our most precious animals from harm. Support endangered species.

  6. Petra Christine Piot says:

    Stop this!!!!!

  7. Dyan Merick says:

    Animals are not ours to misuse. Take care to protect them.

  8. Leanne says:

    Disgusting with no regard to nature.

  9. Linda Calder says:

    Trophy hunting is cruel and unjustifiable please do not support this barbarous inhumane activity

  10. Kristen says:

    Dude, Lions have always been my favorite animal. Maybe because I’m a Leo. Trophy hunting is despicable. Period. If you aren’t planning on honoring any animal you kill by eating its meat and using EVERY last piece if its body like the Indigenous Northern American tribes did and do, you shouldn’t be hunting!

  11. Shawndi Hoy says:

    Hunting for sport is beyond cruel and an abomination. This MUST end, and we can never stop fighting this evil.
    Respect all God’s creatures.

  12. Lauren says:

    I contact all 3 of the state legislators – everyone support!!!

  13. Jay Camp says:

    Trophy hunting is selfish, foolish, and disgusting. As a hunter myself is it disgraceful. We know better. We hunt to provide. Supply meat for our families throughout the season. But we all know those of you whom trophy hunt aren’t eating Elephant or Lion… stop being reckless without due regard, and man/woman up. You know it’s wrong. The only reason you do it is to flex your money and power and it’s atrocious. No one cares you have a lion head in your man cave. You imbecile.

    • Tom Brown says:

      I agree. They kill lions because they hang out with other idiots who realize the expense it took to not only obtain the expensive permit, but the cost to take the dead carcass back to the states. And then these sociopaths socialize with each other and their egos get stroked during their “trophy hunter” dinner parties. It’s a sick little world they play in.

      Boycott businesses associated with the leadership of Boone & Crockett, Sportsmen Alliance and St. Hubertus. These are by far the worst offenders who promote trophy hunting.

    • Lynn Q says:

      Hunting is wrong when it is for greed and ego. We must stop the killing of these beautiful creatures

  14. Marlene Kubick says:

    Who can we keep flooding with our protests? We definitely need to just keep hammering out our messages. It isn’t just the laws, it’s the judges that okay permits and dole out the punishment for the few laws that there are.

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