Foundation calls for ban on lion hunting
29 October 2014, 15:07
Nairobi - The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), a Kenya-based
conservation NGO, has on Wednesday called on the world to totally ban
sport hunting of Africa's lions until the decline in lion populations is
AWF Senior Director of Conservation Science, Philip Muruthi, said
lions are extinct in North Africa, severely depleted across West and
Central Africa, and now losing ground in their strongholds of East and
"For those sport hunters and hunting outfitters in the United States
and in Africa's lion range states that have always adhered to the letter
of the law, we fully recognize the sacrifice we are asking them to
make," Muruthi said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
"Still, we cannot
afford to sacrifice the future of Africa's lions for the sake of a few
trophies," he said, warning that the absence of lions has profound and
long-lasting repercussions on Africa's ecosystems.
"Lions are top predators. If they disappear, the entire predator–prey equilibrium is disrupted," Muruthi warned.
The continental population of African lions is estimated at no more
than 23,000, with the actual population likely within the range of
16,500 to 30,000.
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"Africa's total lion population has declined by 30 percent over the
past two decades. The threat of extinction is very real for African
lions," Muruthi said.
The largest lion populations remain in eastern and southern Africa.
In South Africa, more than 350 lions have been reintroduced in more than
20 small, isolated reserves.
According to AWF, while the primary threats to lions are habitat
loss, conflict with people and a shrinking prey base, the cumulative
effect of these in driving down lion numbers means all steps to reduce
human-induced lion mortalities must be taken, including a ban on sport
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