Hollywood superstar Ricky Gervais has launched an urgent appeal for members of the public to get behind Animal Defenders International (ADI) and stand up for African lions, at this month’s CITES conference (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) in Johannesburg.

The 183 countries which are signatories to the CITES trade restrictions will decide in Johannesburg which species need further protection, and which species will endure further killing and trade. Species covered by CITES are listed by Appendices I (highest level of protection), II and III, according to the level of risk to survival of the species.

ADI supports the proposal to uplist African lion populations to Appendix I of CITES, ensuring they receive the highest level of protection. ADI is also supporting the proposal to set up standards for the international trade in hunting trophies, which would remove the “personal and household effects” exemption, meaning exporting countries would have to issue export permits for all hunted species in both Appendix I and II.

Ricky Gervais says “The survival of the African lion hangs in the balance. We must stop blood-thirsty hunters from decimating our wildlife for a barbaric adrenaline rush or trophy piece to show off to their mates. To help save this incredible species please take action today.”

Members of the public can make their voices heard by spreading awareness about the danger to lions and other animals through social media, and join ADI’s CITES Thunderclap
Help here.

Animal Defenders International President Jan Creamer says: “It is clear that we are at risk of being the generation that allowed a magnificent species to disappear from the wild. Shocking crimes like the killing of Cecil in Zimbabwe last year; lured from his safe area, shot with an arrow, suffering and stalked for nearly two days and then gunned down, shame us all.”

Earlier this year, ADI rescued over 100 animals from circuses and the illegal wildlife trade in Peru and Colombia, including lions, bears, tigers, monkeys and others. ADI and the governments of Peru and Columbia collaborated for the unprecedented Spirit of Freedom operation and the animals were nursed back to health and rehomed in their natural habitats, with 33 African lions returned to their native Africa to start a new life at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa where ADI is funding their lifelong care.

To donate to ADI, click here.

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