Capitol Hill steps up to support African lions
With less than two weeks left for the public to voice its support of an endangered listing for African lions, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, yesterday spearheaded a Congressional briefing on the African lion crisis in front of a packed room of nearly 60 Congressional staff.
U.S. Representative and Chairman of the Animal Protection Caucus Jim Moran (D-VA), set the tone for the morning, highlighting the dangers that threaten the survival of the iconic species.
IFAW and a coalition of animal protection groups detailed the many threats to the species; but, particularly striking a chord with this audience was the revelation of America’s direct contribution to the potential demise of African lion populations thousands of miles from its shoreline.
That contribution is trophy hunting.
Although we Americans consider ourselves global leaders in conservation, unsustainable trophy hunting is the single biggest influence that Americans have on these majestic creatures.
In fact, the United States is responsible for importing over half of all lions brought home by trophy hunters each year globally.
Sport hunting of an imperiled species is by definition not sustainable. Certain African nations have recognized this fact and have banned lion hunting.
Now the U.S. must recognize our role in the crisis, and work to reverse the current decline of the species.
Stepping up to the plate, Representative Moran circulated a letter he and U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) are sending to Secretary Salazar of the Department of Interior in support of the petition to list the African lions as endangered under the US Endangered Species Act.
Given the level of interest from Congressional staff present at the hearing, I anticipate more Congressional members will lend their name to this important letter.
IFAW will continue to lead the nation-wide drive for public support during the last few days of the public comment period which ends on January 28.
There is still time – I hope you will go to www.HelpAfricanLions.org to protect imperiled lions from needless and unsustainable trophy hunting by Americans.