Leopards and Lions are Listed for Protection!

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Both Leopards and Lions have been added to Appendix II of the Convention of Migratory Species (CMS). The international meeting that occurred in October, brought together government officials and wildlife advocates to assess the eligibility of each species for this designation. Dr. Andrew Stein, CLAWS founder, was asked to provide a statement as an international leopard expert. In his statement, read on his behalf by the delegation from Kenya, he acknowledged the unique definition of 'migratory' in this convention and supported the listing based on his work with the IUCN Red List update for leopards.  Though leopards are not migratory by the popular definition, the CMS defines it as such "the entire population or any geographically separate part of the population of any species or lower taxon of wild animals, a significant proportion of whose members cyclically and predictably cross one or more national jurisdictional boundaries".  With both leopard and lion geographic ranges becoming increasingly restricted, a significant portion of their populations live in protected areas that are bisected by unfenced international boundaries. During typical movements, these species cross international boundaries, therefore adhering to the definition.

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Wildlife advocates spoke in support to ensure an added level of protection for the species, while a few countries spoke in opposition to the designation stating that their individual populations were protected without additional measures.

The measure was overwhelmingly supported by the attending nations which provides a non-binding framework for international collaboration in species conservation. This designation marks the further recognition of the dire situation faced by lions across Africa and leopards across Africa and Asia. We look forward to greater cooperation moving forward!

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