Predators by science, victims by nature

Lions are among some of the most beautiful creatures walking our world today. As a child, pretty much all of us would’ve said at one point that a lion was our favourite animal or that we burst into tears at the Lion King (I know I definitely have).

Would you walk right up to a lion and attempt to pet it? No, you would not. Would you take this eventuality and hurt the intelligent animal because of it’s supposed value? Once again, no you would not.

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In an attempt to exert some kind of power over lions, humans all around the world have been going to Africa to kill lions either to have as a trophy, or to sell their teeth and bones for money. This practice has been widely publicised since last year, when American dentist Walter Palmer killed Cecil the lion with a crossbow in Zimbabwe. Palmer was shunned by the world, with a worldwide appeal to find him and millions of pounds worth of donations to the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit.

African lions have to just 8% of their historic range, with only 20,000 left in the wild. A rising market for lion bones in Asia has played a huge part in this ever-declining statistic, in South Africa alone 1,200 skeletons and 11 tonnes of bones were exported between 2008 and 2011.

Since these occurrences, action has been taken at the Johannesburg summit in an attempt to get the killing of lions for trophy or selling of their features banned. The legal battle, obviously, saw opinions for both sides, with Tsekedi Khama, an environment minister from Botswana stating “It would be a very, very sad day when we are not able to show our children’s children what a lion looks like because they have been hunted into extinction or because we traded their body parts into extinction, and that we have taken no responsibility in managing the situation.” (The Guardian, 2016). The words spoken by Khama have never been truer.

Sadly, as of Sunday, the ban failed and the law has not been passed. Between 182 countries at the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (Cites), a decision was not reached to ban the killing of lions in 9 African countries. However, some progress has been made. A ban has been set on the trade of bones, teeth and claws of wild lions. Sadly, those coming from captive-bred lions will still be sold legally, although South Africa will now have to give reports on selling levels each year. Even more sadly, the murdering of lions for trophy remains completely legal in African countries.

The WWF has spoke on their upset over the situation and appeals are being put in place to raise donations to stop this awful practice happening to these beautiful and intelligent animals. Visit WWF’s website to find out in more detail about lions and the target that remains on them.

Hunting must stop, there is no doubt about it. We are the only living beings on this earth who can take action to stop this happening, not just to lions, but different species all over the world. To give your help in ending this, WWF is not the only organisation you can donate to, among them is PETA, In Defence of Animals (IDAUSA) and many more.

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