All leopards are at risk of extinction because of habitat and prey loss, poaching, human conflict and trophy hunting -- but not all leopards have the same protection under the Endangered Species Act. Southern African leopards, which range from South Africa to Kenya and Gabon, are protected as a threatened species only, while all other leopards in Africa and Asia are considered endangered.
In southern Africa, where leopards are currently classified as threatened, populations have declined by more than 30 percent over the past 25 years. Leopards are losing their prey to snares set to catch bushmeat and their habitat to expanding human populations. As humans and leopards come in closer contact, conflict erupts -- and the cats tend to lose. Leopards are killed not only in retaliation, but also for sport or their beautiful spotted fur.
Endangered status would offer more protections to leopards in southern Africa and send a signal that the United States cares about leopard conservation worldwide. That's why, in the summer of 2016, the Center for Biological Diversity along with the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and the Fund for Animals petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect all leopards as endangered. In a promising turn of events, the Service has acknowledged this may be necessary.
Now the Service needs to hear from you. Take action today to tell the feds to give southern African leopards the fullest protections possible.
January 12, 2017 Action Alert ID# 466
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