Here’s How You Can Save The Next Cecil
The killing of Zimbabwe’s Cecil the Lion sparked international outrage – unfortunately, however, incidents like this happen too frequently to non-famous lions, and the United States are doing little to protect the species.
For World Lion Day (August 10), MTV News interviewed Jeff Flocken, the Regional Director of IFAW North America. Flocken also happens to be the organization's resident lion expert, and explained why lions are in danger and what we can do to help.
"There haven't been a lot of studies on lion populations," Flocken says. "So the fact that the lion population has declined 60% in the last 30 years is a fairly recent realization. Everyone just assumed that they were doing well because you can see them in large prides in Savanna fairly readily, but the truth is that they've been in serious decline for some time now."
One big part of the problem is that lions are currently the only big cat that isn't protected under the US Endangered Species Act. It's also still legal to bring the body of a lion in a trophy hunt back to the United States; according to the IFAW, the United States imports over half of the hundreds of lion trophies killed by hunters globally every year.
So how can we save the next Cecil the Lion? Flocken and the IFAW submitted a petition to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in 2011 to get lions on the Endangered Species list. Today, the US government is in the final stages of considering the proposal. You can help lions by signing the petition ancd asking the USFWS to stop imports of lion trophies and protect the African lion under the US Endangered Species Act.