The African Lion is a majestic animal and also much loved by the Americans. It is here that the future of African Lions is being written. The African Lion has been deemed threatened under the Endangered Species Act. If this law comes into effect it will be make it illegal to kill or hunt captive lions in the US without a permit. The Law will not apply to the Zoos also forbade US citizen to sell lions or lion parts across state or international borders. The sale of lions or lion parts within a U.S. state will remain under state jurisdiction.
However, US hunters can import lions which they have killed in Africa as a trophy, if they can get permits from those countries coupled with a “scientifically sound” approach to managing lions, as per information given by Fish and Wildlife Service.
Most of the lions, elephants and rhinoceroses in Africa are killed by U.S. sportsmen and women. However regulated sport hunting is not deemed as a major threat to species. The causes of falling numbers of Lions in Africa are many and include loss of habitat, paucity of prey, increased conflicts with humans etc. The African Lion population has fallen by two-thirds since the 1980s.From 76,000 lions which roamed the African continent in 1980 the figures has dwindled and stood at 30,000 today.
Increasing encroachment by human development and agricultural activities into the Lion habitat, more livestock in the path of the lion, leads to increased attacks by the lions. Retaliatory killings of lions follows .Humans have also become lion’s prey at “unsustainable levels” 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.
Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, told National Geographic, “Lions are declining, and unless we do something to intervene, it’s likely they will become endangered in the foreseeable 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.”
Experts have welcomed the new law but had reservations about the listing and how it will be implemented