Initial Deadline to Protect African Lions Missed

Thursday, 2 June, 2011
Yesterday marked the passing of the 90-day deadline for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make its initial response to a petition seeking protection for African lions under the Endangered Species Act. The petition was filed on March 1 by a coalition of wildlife groups including Born Free USA/ Born Free Foundation, Defenders of Wildlife and IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare

“Over the past two decades, the number of African lions has declined by nearly 50 percent. Today, fewer than 40,000 lions remain in just a few countries with only a third of those lions living in viable, protected populations,” said Adam Roberts, executive vice president for Born Free USA. “We urge the U.S. to take action before it’s too late to save this iconic species.”

“While we recognize the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lacks the resources it needs to process listing petitions in a timely fashion, African lions cannot afford to wait indefinitely,” said Bob Irvin, senior vice president for Defenders of Wildlife. “The ongoing threats to their survival are very serious and deserve immediate attention.”

“The Endangered Species Act is the most comprehensive legislation we have for protecting these magnificent creatures from unsustainable trophy hunting by Americans who import over half of all sport-hunted lion trophies,” said Jeff Flocken, DC office director for IFAW.

The government had 90 days from the time the petition was filed to make an initial assessment as to whether an endangered listing under the ESA may be warranted.

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