Friday, 7 October 2016

Countries fail to agree on complete ban to protect African lions from global trade

The 182 countries at the Johannesburg summit did reach a compromise banning only the trade in bones, teeth and claws from wild lions

Damian Carrington, Johannesburg

Sunday 2 October 2016 20.23 BST Last modified on Sunday 2 October 2016 23.55 BST
An attempt to ban all international trade in African lions, from trophy heads to bones, has failed at a global wildlife summit.

African lions have shrunk to just 8% of their historic range, with only 20,000 left in the wild. About 1,500 a year are hunted as trophies, a practice that attracted global attention last year after an American dentist killed Cecil the lion with a crossbow in Zimbabwe. 

A rising trade in lion bones to Asia, where such bones are replacing scarce tiger bones in supposed tonics, has raised fears of further declines. South Africa alone legally exported 1,200 skeletons – 11 tonnes of bones – between 2008 and 2011, the latest figures available.

But 182 countries at the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), meeting in Johannesburg, were unable to agree on a proposal from nine African countries to ban all international trade in lion parts.

Instead, a compromise agreement banned only the trade in bones, teeth and claws from wild lions. Those coming from captive-bred lions will still be legally sold, although South Africa will now have to report on how many it sells each year. The export of trophies from lion hunting remains legal.

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