“Last fall, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it is considering a petition to list the African lion as ‘endangered’ under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) after a petition was filed by animal rights and anti-hunting organizations.” Wait. What? As far as I know there aren’t any African lions roaming around the U.S.. So why would the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service get involved in Africa’s, uh, anything? You’re not alone in asking that question (or having me ask it for you). The service’s website has an FAQ on that very point . . .

What activities does the ESA prohibit?
Except by regulation or permit issued for specific purposes consistent with the ESA, it is unlawful for any person subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. to:

  • Import into and export from the U.S. listed species.
  • Take—which includes harassing, harming, pursuing, hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, trapping, capturing, collecting, or to attempting any of these—of listed species within the U.S., its territorial waters, or on the high seas.
  • Possess, sell, deliver, carry, transport, or ship listed species taken in violation of the ESA.
  • Sell or offer for sale in interstate or foreign commerce; or deliver, receive carry, transport, or ship listed species in interstate or foreign commerce in the course of commercial activity.

Seems clear. Don’t do it here, mate. But the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation (whose quote started this post) is anti-lion listing. They insist that putting Africa “would be significantly and negatively impacted by the loss of revenue generated by Americans.” What’s more . . .

“American hunters play the key role in the conservation of African lions, said Evan Heusinkveld, USSAF Director of Government Affairs. “A sustainable use strategy is a model that has worked well for many species across Africa – and continues to work well today.”

Many African countries and local communities do not have the financial resources for lion conservation efforts. American hunters, through sustainable use hunting programs, provide much needed conservation dollars for lion populations. These dollars are vital to preserve lion habits from agricultural expansion and other development and vital to prevent illegal poaching, which are both major threats to African lion populations.

Listing the African lion under the ESA would severely undercut lion conservation efforts.

“This is nothing more than your typical anti-hunting organizations pushing to have the African lion granted unwarranted protections,” said Heusinkveld. “Hunting provides the economic incentive for local communities to protect lion habitats, to refrain from retaliatory killings to protect livestock, and to enforce laws against illegal poaching. This petition is simply a blanket approach that would only serve to hurt thriving lion populations.”

Ranged against the USSAF (so to speak) by supporting the petition to put African lions on the ESA: the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, the Born Free Foundation/Born Free USA, the Defenders of Wildlife, and the Fund for Animals.

Here’s the thing: listing the African lion on the ESA would not affect African lion hunting per se. The Service’s FAQ tells all.

Does that mean that a U. S. citizen or resident may hunt an endangered species or a threatened species in another country?

The ESA does not prohibit hunting listed species outside of the U.S. In fact, the ESA does not have the authority to do so. While foreign countries determine whether hunting an endangered or threatened species within their boundaries is lawful, the ESA does regulate the importation of such species.

To import a trophy of a listed species, a person is required to obtain an import permit from the Service’s Division of Management Authority. Since the purpose of importing a sport-hunted trophy is for the hunter’s personal use, an import permit may only be issued if the import is for purposes that enhance the propagation or survival of the species. While the Service does not regulate take (i.e., hunting) in foreign countries, the import of listed trophy species may only be shown to enhance the species if it is taken from a well managed and supported conservation hunting program. It should be noted that the Service has only authorized the importation of endangered trophy species under very limited circumstances. In addition, some threatened species may be imported without an import permit if there is a special rule under the ESA that allows such an activity.

In other words, the USSAF figures that its members’ inability to display a lion in their trophy room will curtail their desire to take on The King of Beasts and, thus, negatively impact the cash flowing to Africans. True?

19 Responses to They Shoot Lions Don’t They?

  1. “The ESA does not prohibit hunting listed species outside of the U.S. In fact, the ESA does not have the authority to do so.”

    In other news today: giraffes have long necks.

    • I’d bet money that any trophies obtained would be barred from importation since the regulations, as written, say nothing about applying only to live animals.

  2. I had a sustainable energy class that involved this. It was taught by an old school conservationist who understood that humans are apex predators and it is our job to regulate prey animals.

    Basically, from what I understand, millions, if not tens of millions, of USD, Euros, and other foreign currency is the only thing keeping the reserves and anti-poaching efforts funded. It also helps feed the local villages, and allows more money to enter the economy through secondary spending on things like lodging, food, keepsakes, tours, and other things along those lines.

    If people cannot bring their trophies back to show what they hunted, because that’s what this is, a trophy hunt, it is not for food, it is not completely for regulation of population, it is for a trophy and the experience, then why would they go when they could hunt other trophy animals in other places? A ban on importation of lion remains may not directly impact the conservation efforts in the long run. What will most likely happen is the anti-hunting groups will use the victory (if they get it) as stepping stones to shut down more of it. If foreign hunters can only hunt common species in foreign lands, then they might not do it, or pay less to do it, which means less money for the conservation efforts. Add in the fact that there might be retaliations on the apex predators should they start eating local domesticated livestock due to over population due to no hunting, a ban on importing lion remains may actually decrease the total population of lions in the wild even if no other hunting is effected.

    Basically, these people be stupid, yo. Actions have consequences.

      • I’m pretty sure importing human remains is a lot easier than animal remains, all you really need is a coffin for transport, a death certificate, say he/she was your cousin, and make sure there are no obvious x-ray-able visibilities of foul play. At least that’s what I figure is required, I watched Lord of War and Nick Cage did that with his drunken brother in that movie after he was gun downed.

        Truthfully if you wanna kill poachers it’s probably better to just let them rot, carrion will feed a lot of different animals in Africa. Pretty sure that’s what the park ranger peoples do. But it’s less hunting poachers and more war zone. The poachers actually DO use AK47s for killing animals there, but the full auto kind, not the American kind.

        Though, Chicago seems to have a an abundance of human heads available :http://www.suntimes.com/17585457-761/17-human-heads-found-at-ohare-delivered-to-mes-office-no-foul-play-suspected.html if you’re really desperate. Though you might want to be careful, they might be brain power behind the works of Chicago’s gun control laws.

        • I could leave the poachers as carrion, but you’re kind of missing the romantic portion of it where I display their heads mounted on a pike. Don’t you miss the idea of heads on a pike, even though none of us were alive during periods of history where that was a thing?

          If I were to attempt such a thing, I’d have a Chey Tac and their piddly 7.62 x 39 could shoot full auto all day, as the rounds would fall far short of my position.

          Also, I’m kidding, but I’m not.

          Herbivores are food, carnivores are pets, that’s all I’m really trying to say. You don’t kill carnivores unless they’re trying to kill you. Invading their domain to raise your cattle, and then seeing them eat your cattle does not qualify. We’re only a few years away from growing meat in a vat, technologically. There’s absolutely no reason to hunt carnivores.

  3. A few years ago the idea was to repopulate North America with African plains animals due to the similar habitats. The plan was based on the idea that poaching efforts would kill off the big game animals of the African continent. Relocating select animals would allow the species to survive. Not sure I’m ok with lions roaming wild in Kansas, guess I’ll need to change my carry gun to something with a little more knockdown power.

  4. But…we are American liberal progressives…we can tell everyone everywhere what to do and how to do it because we know better than they do…silly!

    / sarcasm off

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