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U.S. adds lions to endangered species list, makes it harder to import lion trophies

23 / 12 / 2015, Mongabaycom News

On Monday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced that two subspecies of lions -- Panthera leo leo and Panthera leo melanochaita -- would be protected under the Endangered Species Act. The new rules, which will come into effect on January 22, 2016, will impose stricter permit requirements for trophy hunting, and will make it harder to import lions or their parts into the country, according to the announcement. Following new lion classification, lion populations in India, and west and central Africa have been clubbed into the subspecies Panthera leo leo.  Only about 1,400 of these lions remain in the wild, and this lion subspecies will be listed as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S. FWS said. The second subspecies, Panthera leo melanochaita, which includes lions found across southern and eastern Africa, will be listed as Threatened under the ESA. These lions number between 17,000 to 19,000 in the wild. “We’re protecting the most vulnerable lion subspecies in India and parts of Africa as Endangered,” Dan Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said in a video statement. “Doing so will impose strict new permit requirements, and largely prohibit the importation of these lions into the US.” “We’re also designating the remaining lion subspecies in Africa as threatened, and issuing a special rule for their management,” he added. “That rule extends significant new protections to this threatened subspecies prohibiting most imports of live lions and sport-hunted trophies into the U.S.” [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] African Lion…

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