Fears trophy hunting could lead to extinction
The Born Free charity is calling for tighter legal controls to protect lions from trophy hunting, warning that the species could be lost from much of its current range unless action is taken.
As few as 20,000 lions remain in the wild and scientists predict that their numbers could fall by a further 50 per cent in the next 20 years unless appropriate steps are taken to halt their decline.
Trophy hunting has been in the headlines recently, with the owner of Arsenal Football Club Stan Kroenke launching a new adventure channel in the UK, that initially planned to celebrate trophy hunting and blood sports. But a week after the announcement, it was revealed this type of content would be removed from the channel, following a public outcry.
Last month Xanda - the son of Cecil the lion, who was killed by American dentist Walter Palmer - was also shot and killed by trophy hunters just outside Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe.
The South African government also recently declared its intention to allow an annual export quota to South East Asia of 800 skeletons from captive-bred lions, despite calls to ban the captive breeding industry.
Actress and Born Free founder Virginia McKenna, said: “In my lifetime, the number of African lions has fallen from more than half a million to less than 20,000, and yet this iconic species continues to be hunted for trophies to put on walls or floors.”
Born Free is calling for the introduction of tighter import restrictions for trophies or import bans, as is now the case in Australia.