Proposal to take stricter domestic measures to regulate the import and export of specimens of African lion

Invitation to comment

The Australian Government is considering a proposal to treat specimens of African lion as though they are listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which will affect the regulation of the import and export of lion specimens, including hunting trophies. 

Species are listed under CITES based on how threatened they have become through trade:

  • CITES Appendix I includes species that are currently threatened with extinction (trade can only occur in limited circumstances i.e. conservation breeding, vintage specimens),
  • CITES Appendix II includes species that are not threatened with extinction now but could become so if trade is not regulated. Trade in Appendix II species requires a CITES permit, issued only where it can be scientifically proven that trade is sustainable, and
  • CITES Appendix III includes species that are threatened only in one country (trade requires CITES permits or certificates).

Lions are currently listed on Appendix II of CITES and are protected under Australia’s national environmental law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). International trade in any lion specimen is regulated under this legislation. The proposal to introduce a stricter domestic measure for trade in African lions is in response to concerns about trade in lion specimens, including hunting trophies. If introduced, the proposal would restrict trade in lion specimens to those specimens that meet one of the following criteria: the specimen was obtained prior to the listing of African lion on CITES; the specimen is being traded as part of an exchange of scientific specimens or for research purposes; or as part of a Cooperative Conservation Breeding Program (for live specimens). Lion trophies could only be traded if they could be proven to be pre-Convention specimens (specimens obtained prior to 1976).

The proposal to further regulate trade in lion specimens may have implications for businesses involved in wildlife trade and tourism, other industries and individuals. You are invited to submit information to help the Department identify the potential impacts of treating the African lion as an Appendix I species under Australian legislation.

Please provide your written comments by AEST 5pm 22 September 2014 to:

The Director
Wildlife Trade Regulation
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
CANBERRA ACT 2601
wildlifetrade@environment.gov.au