The Australian Government has introduced a measure to treat African lions as though they are listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The measure came into effect on 13 March 2015, and it will limit Australian trade in African lion items, including preventing imports and exports of African lion hunting trophies.
This measure has been introduced in response to Australian public concerns about 'canned hunting' of African lions.
African lions are listed internationally on Appendix II of CITES. Trade in CITES-listed species is regulated through Australia's national environmental law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). In accordance with CITES and the EPBC Act, Australia may introduce domestic measures that further restrict trade in CITES listed species.
Frequently Asked Questions
The stricter domestic measure to treat African lions as if they were listed on Appendix I of CITES will apply to African lion imports to and exports from Australia.
The new measure prevents most trade in African lion items. Trade may still be permitted if the specimen:
- was obtained prior to the listing of African lion on CITES—that is, before 1977 (non-live specimens only)
- is traded as part of a non-commercial exchange of scientific specimens between registered institutions (non-live specimens only)
- is traded for research purposes (live and non-live specimens)
- is traded for education purposes (live and non-live specimens)
- is traded for exhibition purposes (non-live specimens only) or
- is traded as part of a Cooperative Conservation Breeding Program (for live specimens only).
No. Personally owned African lion hunting trophies may not be imported into Australia unless the specimen was from an animal that was deceased prior to 1977.
Commercial trade in African lion trophies as souvenirs is not possible unless the souvenirs are from animals deceased prior to 1977.
Australian CITES import and export/re-export permits issued up to and including 12 March 2015 will remain valid for trade until the permit is used or expires (whichever occurs first).
- Applications for CITES permits for African lion items lodged but not issued prior to the new measure taking effect will be assessed in accordance with the new measure.
- Permit applications lodged on or after Friday, 13 March 2015 will also be assessed in accordance with the new measure.
- Anyone wishing to withdraw a permit application should advise the Department of the Environment in writing at firstname.lastname@example.org. Refunds will be issued for permit applications that are withdrawn.
The measure is about the protection of animal welfare and the ethical treatment of African lions. It was introduced in response to Australian public concerns about 'canned hunting' of African lions.
Canned hunting is essentially an unfair hunt.
- Hunting of lions in fenced enclosures where they can't escape.
- Hunting of lions that have been raised by people, so they approach hunters and their vehicles.
- Hunting of disoriented lions that have recently been put in a new environment.
- Hunting of drugged lions.
Why did the government ban trade in all African lion specimens if the issue is only with canned hunted lions?
It is usually impossible to tell whether a particular African lion product has come from a lion that has been killed in a canned hunt or not.
Australia's new domestic measure for all African lion items will reduce the risk of African lion trophies obtained through canned hunting being brought into the country.