The African Lion is a royal animal and also much loved by the Americans. Recently, the wildlife experts revealed that the African Lion has been reckoned threatened under the Endangered Species Act. If the law passes, it will make it illegal to kill or hunt the lions in the United States without a permit. Moreover, the law will not apply to the Zoos, but forbade U.S. citizens to sell lions or lion parts across state or national borders. On the other hand, within the U.S. the selling of lions or lion parts will remain under state jurisdiction.
Although, there is no restriction on the US hunters to import lions which they have killed in Africa. But they have to get the permit from those countries, coupled with a “scientifically sound” approach to managing lions, as per information given by Fish and Wildlife Service.
Certainly, U.S. sportsmen and women kill most of the lions, elephants and rhinoceroses in Africa. Though, regulated sport hunting is not reckoned as a major threat to the species. There are many causes of falling the number of lions in Africa, including loss of habitat, paucity of prey, increased conflicts with humans, etc. Since 1980s, the population of the African lions has fallen by two-thirds. Out of 76,000 lions which roamed the African continent in 1980 the figures has declined to 30,000 today.
The rising intrusion of human development and agriculture activities into the lion habitat, more livestock in the path of the lion, leads to increased attacks by the lions. Retaliatory killings of lion chases. Humans have also become lion’s prey at “unsustainable levels” in order to meet a growing demand for food. The Sub Saharan African population is expected to double by 2050 and this will bring even more pressure.
“Lions are declining, and unless we do something to arbitrate, it’s likely they will become endangered in the likely future. Lions tell us a story. This is one of the world’s most iconic, majestic creatures, so this tells us something about what’s happening on [our] planet,” Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, told National Geographic.
Experts have welcomed the new law, but had reservations regarding the listing and how it will be implemented.