Latest Lion Aid News

Illegal trade in lion parts

Teeth, skin, claws harvested for trade


According to Tanzanian Citizen TV, a Vietnamese citizen was arrested at the Namanga border post with 12 elephant tusks, 30 lion claws and 20 lion teeth.

We have reported before on the increasing rate of commercial lion poaching, sometimes disguised as “retaliatory killing” due to livestock losses. We have mentioned that in Tanzania, professional hunters have been approached to sell lion bones.

But we cannot even begin to estimate the scale of commercial lion poaching. This is despite evidence from our friend Karl Ammann indicating that a lion skeleton bought for about $1,000 in Africa has a final market value of about $70,000 in Vietnam.

There are two reasons for this.

First, and perhaps revealingly, the Vietnamese citizen was caught with ivory. The lion products were secondary. Would his arrest have been reported if he only had lion claws and teeth? Not likely. Would he even have been arrested if he only possessed lion claws and teeth? Not likely. Illegal wildlife trafficking urgency has been entirely captured by rhinos and elephants, to the great detriment of lions, pangolins, snakes, parrots…

Second, South African lion breeders have greatly profited from the legal sale of lion bones. CITES permits are readily provided because CITES, the IUCN, and surprisingly, some well-known NGOs do not think lions need much conservation attendance. Why? Because lions are a prime trophy species in Africa and a great diversity of hunting organizations spend funds to convince (dare I say bribe?) African politicians and wildlife departments and scientists to keep lion trophy hunting alive.

This arrest in Namanga is just the very smallest miniscule tip of an iceberg that represents lion poaching for profit. An iconic species that will be extinct before elephants, rhinos, gorillas, chimpanzees, polar bears, leopards, orang utans.

Picture credit - Kateto Ole Kashe

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Posted by Chris Macsween at 20:21

David Hereaux
16th June 2014 at 02:00

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