The Shocking Trade in Lion Bones

This week's investigative reporting, analysis and environmental news.
The Revelator

No. 39, Aug. 2, 2018

Hello Revelator readers,

Last month we found out that the Trump administration has allowed several top Republican donors to import trophies from lion hunts in Zimbabwe and Zambia. That's bad enough, but as we wrote this week, a much bigger threat to lions is the legal trade in their bones. Thousands of lions live in cruel conditions on South Africa's factory farms, where they're raised to be killed in "canned hunts." Hunters get the heads and skins as trophies, while the rest of the bodies go to Asia to be ground up into "medicine." With lion populations expected to drop by another 50 percent over the next two decades, can these big cats survive the pressure from this cruel industry?

On a more positive note, check out our list of the best new environmentally themed books coming out in August. You'll find thought-provoking and educational titles about orangutans, conservation drones, whales, endangered languages, water, environmental history and a whole lot more, including one book on the lion-bone trade.

Finally this week, we have two opinion pieces from writers whose ideas you'll probably either love or hate. First up: Should rhinos be introduced to Australia? Next: Does the push to get rid of plastic straws ignore other things we need to worry about?

In case you missed it:

All eyes have been on the waters off Washington state lately, where a Southern Resident killer whale carried the body of its dead calf for more than a week. We covered this critically endangered population last year, revealing why the whales are dying from a lack of food and an abundance of toxins.

Send us your tips:

What other stories should we cover in the future? We welcome your ideas and inside scoops. Drop us a line anytime.

Coming up:

We have a lot more coming your way over the new few weeks, including stories about grizzly bears, rare fish, climate change and the legal rights of rivers. Look for all our newest links in next week's newsletter, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest headlines as they go live. And while you're on social media, we hope you'll share our stories with your friends.

Feel free to forward this newsletter, too — every new reader makes a difference.

That's it for this week. As always, thanks for reading.

John Platt

John R. Platt
Editor, The Revelator

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