The African lion has been listed in CITES Appendix II since 1977, which includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival. As the only big cat listed in this appendix, it is the only one for which international commercial trade is legal under CITES. The trade in lion body parts, in particular bones, has markedly increased in recent years, with 16 skeletal items derived from wild lions traded in 2005 and 1,339 in 2014. Legal trade in lion bones is particularly prevalent to Asia from South Africa, where lion farming for commercial trade is allowed.

Non-Detriment Findings

Article IV 2a) of CITES states that in order to grant an export permit for trade in specimens of species included in Appendix II, one of the requirements is that “a Scientific Authority of the State of export has advised that such export will not be detrimental to the survival of that species”. This advice given by the Scientific Authority is called the NDF.

The making of NDFs is one of the key tasks of CITES Scientific Authorities and a cornerstone of the Convention. The principles and background of NDFs are contained in Res.Conf. 16.7.

CITES guidance on the making of NDFs can be found here.

Papers Related to Trade Issues

The lion's share - South Africa's trade exacerbates demand for tiger parts and derivatives (Environmental Investigation Agency, 2017)

A roaring trade? The legal trade in Panthera leo bones from Africa to East-Southeast Asia (Williams et al., 2017)

Questionnaire survey of the pan-African trade in lion body parts (Williams et al., 2017)

Bones of Contention. An assessment of the South African trade in African lion Panthera leo bones and other body parts (Williams et al., 2015)

Empty threat: does the law combat illegal wildlife trade? An eleven-country review of legislative and judicial approaches (DLA Piper, 2014)

Lions (Panthera leo) in Central African Republic (CAR) (Lion Alert, 2013)

Illegal hunting and the Bush-meat trade in Savanna Africa:Drivers, Impacts & Solutions to Address the Problem (Lindsey et al., 2012)

Wildlife trade in Somalia (Amir, 2007)

© John Birch