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France bans imports of lion hunt trophies

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France has banned the import of lion heads, paws and skins as hunters’ trophies, almost four months after the killing of Zimbabwe’s most famous lion by an American trophy hunter sparked international outrage.

In a letter to the animals rights activist Brigitte Bardot, France’s environment minister, Ségolène Royal, said that she had instructed officials to stop issuing permits for imports of lion trophies and was considering stricter controls on trophies from other species.

“Following your letter and recent visits in Africa in preparation of the climate summit in Paris, I want to let you know I have given orders to my services to stop delivering certificates for importing lion trophies,” Royal wrote in the letter dated 12 November.”

In July, conservationists and MEPs called for an EU-wide ban on the import of lion trophies, following the death of Cecil the lion at the hands of a Minnesotan dentist in Zimbabwe. France is the first EU state to implement such a ban. In March, Australia also banned their import.

Between 2010 and the 2013, the last year for which data is available, more than 100 such lion trophies were imported to France.