Fighting for Lions

Fighting for Lions – UPDATE

Enhancement Findings – The previous Fighting for Lions Update provided a detailed explanation on how the United States listed the lion under the Endangered Species Act. The subspecies of lion found in Eastern and Southern Africa is now listed as threatened. Lion hunting will continue in these countries, though importation of a lion trophy into the United States will now require a threatened species import permit. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Division of Management Authority (FWS) will issue an import permit pending their finding that the take of any lion being imported enhances the survival of lions living in the wild.

If the Eastern and Southern African lion range states wish to maintain lion hunting revenues generated from U.S. citizens, they will need to maintain the ability to export hunted lion trophies to the United States. Consequently, they must provide the FWS with information that demonstrates how hunting is enhancing the species. Unfortunately, the FWS has not defined enhancement criteria, which means African governments are trying to meet an unknown expectation.

SCI Foundation is working with African governments. The United States provided information to each government regarding what information would be needed by the U.S. Management Authority to make a positive enhancement finding. The Fighting for Lions campaign will be used to help the range states provide this information to the United States. SCI Foundation is in consultations with various African governments to learn how we can assist.

The United States is requesting that African governments provide the following information regarding the hunting of lions:

  1. Proof of biological sustainability.
  2. A clear demonstration of how hunting results in a net conservation benefit to the species.
  3. Documentation of the socio-economic and cultural benefits derived from hunting.
  4. An overview of the adaptive management programs already in place.
  5. Evidence of effective governance of a transparent and sustainable hunting program.

Wildlife authority agencies, in conjunction with professional hunting associations, are working to provide a clear link between the hunting of lions and the enhancement of the species. A renowned consultant with vast experience in the wildlife management and the economics of sustainable use has been retained to conduct this project, which should take approximately 2-3 months to complete. SCI Foundation has provided funding for this work. Upon completion, this information will be delivered to FWS and will be considered in their process of making an enhancement finding.

We will help as many governments that we can with the resources we have available.

Since 2000, the SCI Foundation has provided more than $80 million to promote science-based conservation through wildlife research, capacity building in governments, youth and teacher education, and humanitarian programs that show the importance of the hunting community in society around the world. Growth of SCI Foundation has continued to gain momentum through charitable donations from SCI members and direct grants from local chapters and the SCI organization. Throughout the world, SCI’s approximately 50,000 members and 190 chapters contribute time, talent, and financial support to local, national, and international projects.

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