The researchers also found that retaliatory killing for livestock conflict accounted for 51% of mortalities, but body parts were removed in 48% of conflict cases, suggesting that the demand for body parts was escalating conflict killings.
Teeth and claws were the parts most frequently harvested, with an alarming and dramatic increase from 2014.
“We recorded reports of four cases where lion body parts were conﬁscated in Mozambique between 2013 and 2017. Of these known cases, canine teeth and claws were conﬁscated twice, skin, meat and fat once and a full skeleton once.”
The study said two shipments of teeth and claws were conﬁscated by Mozambican government authorities in 2016 at an international airport. They were destined for Vietnam, with one of the seizures including a combination of lion parts and elephant ivory.
Lead author of the study, Dr Kris Everatt, Panthera’s bushmeat poaching programme manager, said lions already faced a litany threats, from dwindling prey populations to conflict with cattle farmers.