aNewDomain — Today is World Lion Day. And if you’ve been mourning the sad demise of Cecil the Lion, it’s a great day to take action to help other African lions. There is such a lot to do.
For one thing, you can sign the SierraRise Petition to grant lions Endangered Species protection.
SierraRise, an action arm of the Sierra Club, is petitioning U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services (USFWS) to add African lions to the Endangered Species list to protect the big cats from poachers. You can join the effort here.
Why should you bother? Well, if and when African lions are added to the Endangered Species list, it’ll automatically trigger the Lacey Act, which was the first wildlife protection law enacted in the US. President William McKinley signed it into law way back in 1900. Designed to stop illegal wildlife and plant transactions, the Lacey Act helps the US prevent the import of endangered animal trophies.
In fact, The Lacey Act is being used by government officials right now to investigate Zimbabwe’s claim that Cecil the lion was poached by Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer.
Palmer wasn’t the first lion trophy hunter, of course, and he won’t be the last. Approximately 600 African lions are killed each year by trophy hunters. according to a 2009 study conducted by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Six hundred may sound like a relatively small number, but it represents about two percent of African lions, a dwindling populations.
And the murder of one lion leads to the death of countless others, animal experts say, explaining that, when an elder member of a lion pride dies, younger male cubs are killed when a new male takes over the slain lion’s pride.
The majority of lion trophies exported to the US are the result of American-led hunts, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare 2011 annual report That’s why they filed a petition with the US. Department of the Interior last year to get African lions listed as an endangered species under the US Endangered Species Act.
Or you can help out lions and other big cats around the world in one of these ways:
Check out the World Lion Day list and you’ll find info on a number of organizations trying to help out not just lions, but also panthers, leopards and various other big cats. Here are a few that stood out for me.
If you contribute five bucks or more to National Geographic’s Big Cat Initiative you’ll be high fiving some pretty amazing big felines. Your money will go to help fund such worthwhile projects as combatting lion snaring and poaching in Zambia, Project Snow Leopard in Northern Pakistan and aiding Emily Fitzherbert’s grass roots movement stop illegal lion poaching in Tanzania.
Also, take time out to find out Lion Guardians, who employ warriors to protect lions across more than 2,000 square miles of unprotected critical lion habitat in Kenya and Tanzania.
Here’s a lion video for you, in honor of World Lion Day. It comes courtesy National Geographic.
For aNewDomain, I’m Terry Gardner.
Cover image of Cecil the Lion: BBC.com Cecil the Lion gallery, All Rights Reserved. Inside image: Guardian.com, All Rights Reserved.