Decision to declare lions endangered comes just months after the death of ‘Cecil the Lion’


“If hunting is part of a conservation strategy, then it’s part of a failing strategy,” said Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, on a conference call for journalists. The rule is “not reacting to Cecil specifically or any other incident specific, but rather an overwhelming body of science that says that lions are threatened.”

Hefty fees paid in the by hunters of big game like lions ostensibly help fund conservation efforts. But some wildlife experts question whether the policies have been effective as implemented. Lion populations have declined by 43% during the last 20 years, according to the FWS.

The endangered listing comes along with a number of new policies, including new permit requirements for hunters hoping to import trophies from lion hunts. The agency said it will only issue permits in accordance with science on how best to conserve lion species. The rules also give the FWS authority to deny permits to anyone previously found guilty of violating wildlife laws.

The decision drew immediate praise from animal rights activists who have been working for more than four years to list African lions as endangered. Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the U.S. Humane Society, described the new rule as “one of the most consequential” from the FWS in years. “This listing decision…is likely to dramatically change the equation for American trophy hunters who have been killing lions by the hundreds each year for their parts,” he said in a statement.

3 thoughts on “Decision to declare lions endangered comes just months after the death of ‘Cecil the Lion’

  1. Cecil’s legacy (in spite of Ashe Carter’s denying the rule had anything to do with him). Carter noted that the increasing human population could lead to the end of lions on this earth. That will be our legacy.

  2. Great news if it signals a beginning shift away from hunting culture controlling agencies and not an exception. We’ll see what USFWS decides on the three zoos wanting to import 18 elephants from Swaziland.

  3. Reblogged this on GarryRogers Nature Conservation and commented:
    Apparently, American trophy hunters aren’t rich enough to stop this move. In other instances, it is clear that protecting economic interests is more important to the Fish and Wildlife Service than protecting wildlife (e.g., the Greater Sage Grouse: That’s the way it is in America. Government agencies that actively harm the wildlife or ecosystems in their care are just one more consequence of a government controlled by money.

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