Protection of the African Lion: A Critical Analysis of the Current International Legal Regime

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A new study by Samantha Watts, from the University of Cape Town, Protection of the African Lion: A Critical Analysis of the Current International Legal Regime explores the current international regime that pertains to the African lion—a species that needs adequate protection across its range—a range that does not adhere to state boundaries.

Ms. Watts’ analysis comes at a time when threats such as habitat and prey loss, retaliatory killing, trophy hunting and trade, are all impacting the remaining populations of African lions.

The species is in danger of rapid population decline and possible extinction in the near future. Two decades ago there was an abundance of African lions—roughly 100,000 on the continent.

Current lion population studies claim there are less than 32,000; while others contend there are only 15,000. The lion population decline is mainly due to habitat and prey loss, retaliatory killing, trophy hunting and trade.

The article looks at each threat to African lion populations in detail and then assesses the international legal regime pertaining to each of these threats, and whether that regime is adequate.

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