July 2024

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Months after Cecil the lion was killed by an American dentist in Zimbabwe, the Obama administration has decided to place two breeds of African lions under protection because of their large decrease in population over the last two years.

Endangered species

The first breed of lions, mainly found in West and Central Africa, is now listed as endangered, meaning that it risks extinction. There are about 1,400 of those lions left in India and in Africa. The second breed, that lives across East and southern Africa, is going to be considered as threatened. Hunters will be allowed to import trophies from countries with endangered species only if the nations have proper conservation practices in place. This means that the countries use trophy hunting revenues to deter poaching and to sustain lion populations. Today, hunters do not need any authorization to bring a trophy lion to the U.S.It is estimated that there are between 17,000 and 19,000 lions listed as threatened in East and southern Africa. The Fish and Wildlife Service will also forbid anyone who’s been convicted or pleaded guilty to violating federal or state wildlife laws from importing lion trophies to the U.S.

Dan Ashe, the  Endangered Species Act requires the Fish and Wildlife Service director believes that this decision will help preserve lions:

“If we want to ensure that healthy lion populations continue to roam the Africa savannas and forests of India, it’s up to all of us — not just the people of Africa and India — to take action,” he said.

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International measures

Wildlife biologists and conservation groups have stated for years that lions were becoming endangered species. They are often victims of poorly regulated trophy hunting and retaliatory killing by farmers. According to a recent study, the African lion population could be halved in the next 20 years. Today, there are approximately 20,000 lions on the continent. In the last few months, France has banned the import of lion trophies and more than 40 airline companies have stopped transporting those trophies.

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SEE ALSO: 5 Interesting Facts About Lions.