SAVING SPECIES

Ban wildlife trade, lobby urges on World Lion Day

Lions are extinct in 26 African countries and have vanished from 95% of their historic range.

In Summary

• Wildlife lovers have asked the world to ensure there is a ban on wildlife trade to ensure that animals are saved particularly during this time of coronavirus.

• Kenya currently has a population of about 2,489 lions, compared to the 2018 estimate of 1,970.

Tourism CS Najib Balala when he participated in collaring an adult female lion at the Maasai Mara Game Reserve on August 6, 2020.
Tourism CS Najib Balala when he participated in collaring an adult female lion at the Maasai Mara Game Reserve on August 6, 2020.
Image: KWS

For decades the lion has been seen and depicted as the symbol of power, courage, pride and nobility in many regions.

In other places, the lion is viewed as a majestic, regal, protector, warrior, king and a leader who can be looked upon. 

The lion is the most recognisable creature that has muscular, deep-chested body, short, rounded head, round ears, and a hairy tuft at the end of its tail.

 But the wild animal has also been used as metaphors by society around us to depict how spirited the lion has been. 

In Kenya, this animal has been used to represent patriotism on its Coat of Arms.

But one thing that is yet to be understood and taken care of is the fact that this wild cat is nearing extinction and animal lovers have moved to save it.

As we celebrate world Lions day today, August 10, wildlife lovers have asked the world to ensure there is a ban on wildlife trade to ensure that animals are saved particularly during this time of coronavirus.

Wildlife campaign manager at world animal protection in Africa Edith Kabesiime told the Star that the summit that will be held in Saudi Arabia in November should encompass the ban on wildlife trade.

“Since the outbreak of this disease, we dedicate this whole year in calling for the world leaders who will be meeting at the G20 summit to ban this trade. Let them put mechanisms that will ensure that the trade comes to a stop. This is the only way to protect the lion and other animals from poaching,” she said.

A lion at the Nairobi National Park.
A lion at the Nairobi National Park.
Image: FILE

Kabesiime says that with the ban on the trade, future pandemics such as extinctions and poaching will be eliminated entirely.

 

But she notes that the animals like any other human being get depressed whenever they face hurdles in life.

 

“We have already heard about some lions contracting the disease in the US, these animals also feel pain just like us human beings and we must protect them before it gets late,” she says.

 

Just over a century ago, there were more than 200,000 wild lions living in Africa.

Today, there are only about 20,000. Lions are extinct in 26 African countries and have vanished from more than 95 per cent of their historic range.

Kenya currently has a population of about 2,489 lions, compared to the 2018 estimate of 1,970.

According to the WWF,the African lions have lost 90 per cent of their historic range and lion numbers have crashed from as from as many as 200,000 lions just 100 years ago to approximately 20,000 in the continent.

Kenya last week launched a recovery plan for lions and hyenas to help sustain their viable populations in the country last week.

Tourism CS Najib Balala said the second edition of the lion and spotted hyena Recovery and Action Plan addresses complex threats faced by the two carnivores in a holistic and collaborative manner.

“This aims for the long-term vision of sustaining viable populations of lions and spotted hyenas in healthy ecosystems as a world heritage valued by the people of Kenya,” Balala said in a statement in Maasai Mara National Reserve.

 

He said the Recovery and Action plan was developed through a consultative planning process and in accordance with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Convention for International Trade of Endangered Species  and Convention of Migratory Species guidelines.

The CS said lack of proper planning had led to increased cases of human-wildlife conflict but cautioned communities against taking the law into their hands by killing wildlife.