The Island’s MP, Andrew Turner, will be speaking on the future of lions and lion trophies tomorrow in Parliament. Many people are surprised to hear that it is still possible to legally import trophies from lions, an endangered species into the UK.
Mr Turner commented: “Tomorrow I shall be leading a debate on the issue of lions and sport hunting. I have become increasing aware of the threat faced by lions across Africa and India. During a recent visit to the Isle of Wight Zoo, I met Casper, a magnificent white lion. I learnt from the charity Lion Aid that all over the world lions such as Casper face continual dangers from poachers and ‘sport hunters’ where lion trophies are the top prize.
“These so called ‘sport hunters’ seek to kill adult male lions in order to claim them as a trophy, usually for their skins or to have the head mounted. It is a complete waste of life for such great creatures. Not only is it a waste of life, but it is very damaging to the general lion populations. There are limited numbers of adult males left in the wild – probably less than 3,000 – making it very hard for lion numbers to remain stable given their complex social hierarchy.
“Lions used to live not only in Africa but in the Middle East and as far as India. It has been reported that the population of lions 50 years ago stood at 200,000. Today it is believed that there are only 20,000 left. As many as 1,000 trophies have been exported from Tanzania alone in the period 2002-2005. If we do not move now to protect lions from excessive hunting, we face the strong likelihood that lions may become extinct in next few decades. I shall be asking the Government to ban the import of lion trophies and to take a lead in seeking an international ban on lion hunting.”
Mr Turner will be speaking in Westminster Hall tomorrow from 4.30pm