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Lions on Endangered Species List: New Protections Come in Cecil's Wake

Image: Lions on Endangered Species List: New Protections Come in Cecil's Wake
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By    |   Tuesday, 22 Dec 2015 10:57 AM

Lions in central and west Africa will be added to the endangered species list, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Monday, some five months after a Minnesota dentist caused an international uproar after he killed Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe.

In additional to the exclusions, lions in southern and eastern African will be placed on the threatened species list, The New York Times reported, further tightening the criteria for import of live lions and lion parts, such as heads, paws, and skins.

A statement from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife stated that the move targets two lion subspecies — the Panthera leo leo in India and western and central Africa, and the Panthera leo melanochaita, located in eastern and southern Africa.

The agency statement added that the service will work to support changes to strengthen the governance and accountability of conservation programs in other nations. The agency said that well-managed conservation programs can use trophy hunting revenues to sustain lion conservation, research, and anti-poaching activities.

"Sustainable trophy hunting as part of a well-managed conservation program can and does contribute to the survival of the species in the wild, providing real incentives to oppose poaching and conserve lion populations," U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director Dan Ashe said in the agency's statement.

"Implementing a permit requirement will give us the authority we need to work with African countries to help them improve their lion management programs," he continued.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife agency stated that the lion population has declined by 43 percent over the past 20 years because of habitat loss, loss of prey base, and retaliatory killing of the species as the human population continues to expand.

The agency said there are limited financial and other resources for countries to effectively watch and manage protected areas.

"The lion is one of the planet's most beloved species and an irreplaceable part of our shared global heritage," Ashe said in the agency's statement. "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."

Jeff Flocken, the North American regional director of International Fund for Animal Welfare, told The Washington Post that the new listings are "a very exciting announcement for those who want to see greater protection for lions."

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Lions in central and west Africa will be added to the endangered species list, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Monday, some five months after a Minnesota dentist caused an international uproar after he killed Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe.
lions, endangered, species, list, cecil
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2015-57-22
Tuesday, 22 Dec 2015 10:57 AM
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