Tuesday, 22 December 2015

African lions have now joined all other big cats on the endangered species list

DECEMBER 22, 2015

by Chuck Bednar

Six months after the death of Cecil the Lion, the US Fish and Wildlife Service have moved to add two subspecies native to Africa to the endangered species list, making it more difficult for hunters to import trophies from their conquests into the country.

According to Reuters, the agency listed lions found primarily in western and central Africa as endangered and those native to the eastern and southern parts of the continent as threatened. Those changes follow the recent extension of similar protections to elephants and cheetahs and will officially take effect starting in January.

Jeff Flocken, North American regional director of the animal welfare fund, told the Washington Post that the ruling was “very exciting... for those who want to see greater protections for lions.” While the decision is not explicitly the result of Cecil’s death at the hands of a Minnesota dentist, Flocken noted that it was “impossible to ignore the public outcry” of that event.

The new regulations will not prevent the hunting of lions, the Post noted, but it will require all hunters to obtain an import permit from the FWS to bring back trophies. To be granted a permit, they will have to demonstrate that a trophy will “enhance [the] survival of the species, explained Teresa Telecky, director of wildlife at the Humane Society International.

New regulations set ‘a very high bar’ for trophy import permits

Telecky’s group—along with the International Fund for Animal Welfare first petitioned for the addition of these lions to the Endangered Species act almost five years ago—praised the move and said that it set “a very high bar” for hunters to obtain permits to bring back trophies.

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