The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has announced this week that two subspecies of lion would be added to the Endangered Species Act as their numbers continue to decline due to issues affecting their habitats, ability to find and catch prey, and problems with hunters killing too many of them for sport.
The two subspecies are Panthera leo leo and Panthera leo melanochaita. Panthera leo leo is listed as endangered, as only about 1,400 of them are known to exist in the wild, and Panthera leo melanochaita is listed as threatened, as around 19,000 of them are known to exist in the wild.
“The lion is one of the planet’s most beloved species and an irreplaceable part of our shared global heritage,” said Ashe. “If we want to ensure that healthy lion populations continue to roam the African savannas and forests of India, it’s up to all of us – not just the people of Africa and India – to take action.”
Not only does listing these creatures as endangered or threatened limit peoples’ abilities to harm the creatures for sport, but it also limits importing of animal hides and trophies into the United States, making it harder for there to be a legal market for those kinds of items in this country.
Acquiring permits for legal importing will become harder too, as prices will rise and limitations will be put in place that prevent those unnecessary from being able to import hides for no good reason. In fact, permits will only be allowed if it can be proven that the importing will enhance the survival of the species, which may include scientific research.
Hopefully with the new regulations on lions, the species will have a better chance at survival on Earth and hunters will be less likely to kill them for no good reason.
Source: Fish and Wildlife Service