January 28, 2013
RE: Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List the African Lion Subspecies as Endangered (Document ID FWS-R9-ES-2012-0025-0001)
As a concerned US citizen and taxpayer, I am in strong support that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service list the African lion (Panthera leo) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
As a person who grew up in the 1970’s I became aware of lions through book, by Joy Adamson and later the film Born Free, the story of the Joy and George Adamson raising Elsa the lioness and eventually rehabilitating her so she could live as a free and wild lioness once again. Since then, my own personal desire is to see all lions live wild and free in their natural habitat.
Since the late 1800’s “celebrated” big game hunters from the United States and Europe, including US President Theodore Roosevelt, have descended upon Africa in order to “shoot every living thing we can find today and see what bag is possible in one day.”[i]
Due to this attitude, excessive hunting continued throughout the 19th and 20th century leading the extinction of two of the eight sub species of lions in Africa including: Panthera leo melanochaita known as the Cape lion and Panthera leo leo known as the Barbary or North African lion. The Panthera leo persica known as the Asian lion, currently only wild in India, were almost wiped out by hunters and today approximately only 400 live in the Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary.[ii]
I believe the United States is being given the opportunity to begin to repair the damage that our collective attitude and our sense of entitlement we have over other living creatures as being “our own private resources” to do as we wish. We in the United States have contributed significantly to the rapid decline of wild lions and will continue to do so unless we start with adding the African lion (Panthera leo) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. We must send a message to our own citizens that trophy and canned hunting of lions is abhorrent, unjust, and not supported.
We have a global responsibility to correct this wrong and change our attitudes and belief system about other living creatures, including and especially lions. We should be working with and following the lead of African conservation leaders in their quest to balance human population needs and the conservation, protection, and growth of wild lions across Africa.
Therefore, I strongly encourage the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service list the African lion (Panthera leo) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
Jamaica Plain, MA