First For Hunters Blog

Fighting for Lions - UPDATE

May 16, 2016

Enhancement Findings
The previous Fighting for Lions Update provided a detailed explanation on how the United States listed the lion under the Endangered Species Act. The subspecies of lion found in Eastern and Southern Africa is now listed as threatened. Lion hunting will continue in these countries, though importation of a lion trophy into the United States will now require a threatened species import permit. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Division of Management Authority (FWS) will issue an import permit pending their finding that the take of any lion being imported enhances the survival of lions living in the wild. 

If the Eastern and Southern African lion range states wish to maintain lion hunting revenues generated from U.S. citizens, they will need to maintain the ability to export hunted lion trophies to the United States. Consequently, they must provide the FWS with information that demonstrates how hunting is enhancing the species. Unfortunately, the FWS has not defined enhancement criteria, which means African governments are trying to meet an unknown expectation. 

At the SCI Convention, SCI Foundation coordinated five high-level government meetings between the United States and Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The United States provided information to each government regarding what information would be needed by the U.S. Management Authority to make a positive enhancement finding. Remaining funds from the Fighting for Lions campaign will be used to help the range states provide this information to the United States. SCI Foundation is in consultations with various African governments to learn how we can assist. 

The first government we are working with is Zimbabwe. It appears the United States is requesting that Zimbabwe provide the following information regarding the hunting of lions:

  1. proof of biological sustainability,
  2. a clear demonstration of how hunting results in a net conservation benefit to the species,
  3. documentation of the socio-economic and cultural benefits derived from hunting,
  4. an overview of the adaptive management programs already in place, and
  5. evidence of effective governance of a transparent and sustainable hunting program.

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management, in conjunction with Zimbabwe Professional Hunters and Guides Association and CAMPFIRE Association, are working to provide a clear link between the hunting of lions and the enhancement of the species. Vernon Booth, a renowned consultant with vast experience in the wildlife management and the economics of sustainable use has been retained to conduct this project, which should take approximately 2-3 months to complete. SCI Foundation has provided funding for this work. Upon completion, this information will be delivered to FWS and will be considered in their process of making an enhancement finding. 

Additional work with other governments is now being discussed.  We will help as many governments that we can with the resources we have available.  

Lion at CITES
The African lion will be considered for listing on CITES Appendix I at the next major CITES meeting this September in Johannesburg. Lions are currently listed on Appendix II. Most Southern and East African range states disagree with listing the lion under CITES Appendix I. We will be working with many governments and organizations that wish to withdraw, amend, or reject this proposal. However, we are facing unprecedented opposition and at this stage the outcome of these deliberations is at best uncertain.

Balance of Fund
There remains approximately $130,000 (11%) of the total lion fund in balance.

SCI Foundation is immensely grateful for the investments made by SCI hunters that created this restricted fund.  If you have any questions about our lion programs and expenditures, please contact Matt Eckert, SCI Foundation’s Director of Conservation, at  Thank you for your support of SCI Foundation’s missions.

Download the PDF:
Fighting for Lions Update_May2016

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