photo by Natalie Harder
photo by Natalie Harder
photo by Natalie Harder


Lion populations are increasingly impacted by a growing trade in their parts. Across Africa, populations have dropped by more than 40 percent over the past 20 years, with less than 20,000 now roaming the continent.


As wild tiger populations have dropped, other big cats like lions are being targeted. Increasingly, lions are being killed not only as hunting trophies but for their bones but also their teeth and claws which are used as talismans and trinkets.


While international commercial trade in wild African lion parts is prohibited, sales of parts from captive-bred lions is allowed. For instance, South Africa’s captive lion industry can legally export up to 800 skeletons a year. Much is destined for China, Laos and Vietnam, often as a substitute for tiger parts.




As Tigers Become Rarer, Poachers Are Targeting Lions, National Geographic, June 1, 2018

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