Lions 'critically endangered', according to report
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There have been calls to label lions 'critically endangered', following a report tracking their population size. In many places in Africa, the lion population has dropped by an average of 60%, according to a report by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environment scientific organisation and its report revealed that the number of lions in Africa has fallen by 42% in just 21 years– which is approximately just three generations of lion. Part of this catastrophic decline is the rampant slaughter of the animal for sport and trade, both in the wild and as part of captive-bred schemes. According to the official CITES trade database, from 2009 to 2013 the total number of lions and lion parts exported doubled compared to the previous five year period. The figures reveal particularly worrying increases in the trade in lion bones and skeletons, skins, and trophies from captive bred animals. “The IUCN reassessment confirms what we have known for some time: that lions are in serious decline across much of Africa,” said Adam M. Roberts, Chief Executive of the Born Free Foundation and Born Free USA, who are urging immediate international action to halt catastrophic recent declines in lion populations across Africa. “The trade data suggests that international trade in lion parts and products is putting pressure on these vulnerable lion populations, which they clearly can’t sustain,” he continued. The situation has led for calls for lions to be classed as ‘critically endangered’ in West Africa following their extinction from at least 12, and possibly up to 16, different African countries. “These iconic animals can’t wait,” added Roberts. “Lions used to roam all over Africa, west Asia and even southern Europe. Now we risk seeing them disappear from much of their remaining sub-Saharan African range. We cannot sit by and watch this species disappear under our watch.” Born Free is working with the United Nations Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and African lion experts to improve collaboration between African range states on lion conservation, identify the reasons for the reported declines, and help range states to reverse them.
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