The import of trophy lions will be prohibited. On Monday, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service announced that new measures will be taken in order to protect Africa’s lions, with the help of the Endangered Species Act. This decision was made because the lion population in Africa decreased with 60%, which is an alarming rate. Researchers believe that this was caused mostly because of the practice that involves paying an amount of money in order to shoot lions in enclosed perimeters. It appears that this was practiced mostly by American hunters.
The measures will involve banning the import of killed lion trophies and live lions as well. Few exceptions will allow the import of the live lions in the United States. The action that will try to conserve the lions has been in works for almost four years. In the last 10 years, more than 5,000 lions were killed by American hunters, according to USFWS data. These high numbers infuriated the Humane Society International and the Humane Society of the United States, who started petitioning against trophy lions hunting, along with other organizations.
The president of HSUS, Wayne Pacelle, said that this action will ban the Americans who killed lions for fun and imported them in the country, from doing it again. He also stated that more than half of the lion trophies imported in 2014 , in the U.S., came from South Africa. Wealthy people were able to kill lions that were trapped behind fences and couldn’t defend themselves or escape their imminent death.
Research data shows that in 2014, 719 dead lions were imported in the U.S., of which 620 were imported from South Africa. More than half of them (370), were trophy lions, killed in closed hunts.
Because lions were imported from other African countries, South Africa won’t be the only place where the closed hunting will be banned. The second and third largest lion exporters are Zimbabwe and Tanzania. In 2014, 42 lions were imported in the U.S. from Zimbabwe and 40 lions from Tanzania. The two countries also used to import elephant trophies, but were prohibited by some wildlife programs in Africa.
The animal rights activists can now be happy because the import of trophy lions will be prohibited, and also because efforts are being made towards protecting endangered species. On their extended list of endangered species, will also be Panthera leo leo and Panthera leo melanochaita, which are located in Africa.
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