Tomorrow will mark the first anniversary of the death of Cecil the lion at the hands of US dentist Walter Palmer. We have already published on the changes instituted as a consequence of Cecil’s highly controversial hunt but we can and should go further.
1. CITES, the International Convention that regulates trade in wildlife, will have their next tri-annual convention in South Africa in September/October. On the issue of lions, a number of western African nations have proposed ALL African lions to be listed on Appendix I to significantly restrict any commercial trade including hunting trophies. We will urge all CITES member states to support this proposal – urgent calls for increased lion protection measures have been opposed for far too long by vested interest trade hunting lobbies.
2. Zambia, a current lion trophy hunting nation, will have national elections in August. Depending on the candidate elected as the future President, lion hunting as supported by the current government could cease as indicated by private conversations between LionAid and opposition party leaders.
3. More sovereign nations need to join Australia, France and the Netherlands to ban any future lion trophy imports. And to join the USA in demanding that any future imports of lion trophies meet the very strict requirement that such hunts actually and verifiably contribute to the conservation of lions. To date, that requirement has proved to be unattainable, and this fact should be carefully considered by all vacillating nations.
4. The UK, bound by the public vote to leave the European Union, now has the clear means, independent of EU nations (Spain and Germany especially in opposition), to ban any future lion trophy hunting imports. LionAid will push the Environment Minister to keep his promise stated during our meeting to review import restrictions in October and align the UK with the US position. And we will also request the UK to provide significant funding dedicated to lion conservation measures including a pan-African population count.
For sure, we need to remember Cecil but we will always move forward to prevent any more lions like him killed so senselessly.