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Beyond Cecil: Africa's Lions in Crisis

Beyond Cecil: Africa's Lions in Crisis

On World Lion Day 2017, Africa’s Lions Face Crisis

Two years after the illegal killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe put lions into world headlines, Africa’s lions face a continuing crisis.

Over the past two decades, the African lion population has declined by an estimated 43%, with only 20,000 lions remaining across the entire continent. Habitat loss, poaching for bushmeat, and conflict with livestock owners are the primary killers of Africa’s lions today. Compared to trophy hunting, these threats combined are estimated to kill five to ten times as many lions each year. 

'Ivory Queen' Arrested in Tanzania, Accused of Running Major Smuggling Ring

An alleged ivory magnate has been arrested and charged with smuggling tusks worth nearly $2.5 million in Tanzania, where rampant poaching in recent years has devastated the nation’s elephant population.

Yang Feng Glan, a 66-year-old Chinese national reportedly known as the “Ivory Queen,” is accused of being a crucial link between poaching syndicates in East Africa and buyers in China and other nations. News of her Wednesday arrest was first reported by Elephant Action League.

"Tanzania has had the most serious elephant poaching of any country in recent years with few prosecutions, so this is an important case," said WildAid CEO Peter Knights. "But as well as arresting the smugglers, corrupt officials who enable this trade need to be prosecuted."

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Leading Voice Against Hong Kong Ivory Trade Visits Africa

Hong Kong lawmaker Elizabeth Quat, a leading voice for dismantling one of the world's biggest commercial ivory markets, is currently in Africa to engage in field studies and talks with officials in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. This is Quat’s second visit to Africa in less than a year at the invitation of WildAid and partner conservation groups. On this trip, she recently met with Richard Bonham, head of the conservation group Big Life Foundation founded by photographer Nick Brandt, to discuss the elephant and rhino poaching crisis embroiling the continent.

Upon arriving in Kenya, Quat was informed about the latest brazen poaching incident: On the morning of July 28, a patrol team found the bodies of five poached elephants — a mother and four offspring — in Tsavo West National Park. Two suspects have since been arrested.  

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