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December 30, 2015

New U.S. Protections for African Lions Should Doom South Africa’s Canned Lion Hunting Industry

Data analysis reveals that Americans account for upwards of 85 percent of canned hunt kills for lions in South Africa

Humane Society International

  • The threatened listing for lions in South Africa will bar imports from canned hunting facilities. APWF

According to international trade data, American hunters comprise the vast majority of the clientele for South Africa’s notorious canned hunting operations for African lions. Of the 429 trophies from captive lions traded internationally in 2014, Americans took the lives of 363 lions and imported their body parts into the United States — about 85 percent of the total.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States said: “The federal action to place African lions on the list of threatened and endangered species could and should cripple the canned lion hunting industry in South Africa, given that Americans account for nearly nine of every 10 kills at these despicable, deplorable facilities.”

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A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule issued last week indicates that the threatened listing for lions in South Africa will bar imports from canned hunting facilities.

According to the government of South Africa, there are about 6,000 captive lions held in about 200 facilities where canned lion hunts sell for US $10,000–$20,000 each.  These facilities were recently highlighted in the documentary "Blood Lions." Even the Professional Hunters’ Association of South Africa opposes canned hunts of lions.

Pacelle added: “If you thought Walter Palmer’s killing of Cecil was deplorable, what happens to nameless lions at these facilities is even more appalling and unsporting. Along with the new U.S. import restrictions, we applaud France and Australia for banning lion trophy imports, and we urge other importing countries, including the Czech Republic, Poland and Spain, to enact similar rules.”

According to analysis of information contained in the Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora Database, in 2014, 429 lion trophies from animals who were captive-bred/captive-born were exported from South Africa for hunting trophy purposes or personal purposes. Of these, 363 or 84.6 percent were exported to the U.S.

South African Lion Trophy Trade Data for 2014

CITES Appendix

Species

Trade Term

Importing Country

Number of Trophies

II

Panthera leo

trophies

     United States

363

II

Panthera leo

trophies

     Poland

20

II

Panthera leo

trophies

     Spain

17

II

Panthera leo

trophies

     Czech Republic

10

II

Panthera leo

trophies

     Bulgaria

8

II

Panthera leo

trophies

     Austria

3

II

Panthera leo

trophies

    Denmark

2

II

Panthera leo

trophies

      Finland

2

II

Panthera leo

trophies

    Latvia

2

II

Panthera leo

trophies

    Belgium

1

II

Panthera leo

trophies

    Hungary

1

 

Media Contacts:

Humane Society International: Vincenza Previte, +1 240.551.9092; vprevite@humanesociety.org

Humane Society International/United Kingdom: Wendy Higgins, +44 (0)7989 972 423; whiggins@hsi.org

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