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African lions to join the endangered species list: Five months after Cecil was slain, the animals are to be given special protection

  • Lions in central and west Africa will be listed as endangered
  • While lions found across south and east Africa will be listed as threatened
  • It is hoped the move will make it harder for hunters to bring ‘trophies’ to US
  • Fish and Wildlife Service said its move is not the result of Cecil outcry 

African lions are to be placed under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, just five months after a famous lion named Cecil was killed in Zimbabwe by an American dentist.

It is hoped the move will better regulate hunting and make it trickier for hunters to bring lion trophies into the US.

Lions in central and west Africa will be listed as endangered, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service, while a second subspecies found across southern and eastern Africa will be listed as threatened.

African lions are to be placed under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, five months after a famous lion named Cecil (pictured) was killed in Zimbabwe by an American dentist. Lions in central and west Africa will be listed as endangered while a second subspecies in southern and eastern Africa will be listed as threatened

African lions are to be placed under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, five months after a famous lion named Cecil (pictured) was killed in Zimbabwe by an American dentist. Lions in central and west Africa will be listed as endangered while a second subspecies in southern and eastern Africa will be listed as threatened

Both changes will make it harder for hunters to import lion parts.

In particular, importing skins and trophies from countries where the animals are endangered will be ‘generally prohibited,’ the agency told The New York Times.

The order states the Fish and Wildlife Service will deny a permit to import a sport-hunted lion to anyone who has been convicted or pleaded guilty to violating federal or state wildlife laws.

If this rule had been implemented sooner, it could have potentially prevented the death of Cecil.

In 2008, Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who shot the lion with a bow and arrow earlier this year, pleaded guilty to making false statements to the Fish and Wildlife Service about a black bear fatally shot in western Wisconsin outside an authorised hunting zone.

Under the changes, this would have prevented him getting a permit to travel to Africa and hunt Cecil.

The order states the Fish and Wildlife Service will deny a permit to import a sport-hunted lion to anyone who has been convicted or pleaded guilty to violating federal or state wildlife laws. The move has been made in response to a large decline in the numbers of lions in Africa, rather than in direct response to Cecil's demise

The order states the Fish and Wildlife Service will deny a permit to import a sport-hunted lion to anyone who has been convicted or pleaded guilty to violating federal or state wildlife laws. The move has been made in response to a large decline in the numbers of lions in Africa, rather than in direct response to Cecil’s demise

The move has been made in response to a large decline in the numbers of lions in Africa over the past two decades, rather than in direct response to Cecil’s demise.

But some claim the creature’s very public death was the driving force for many such changes.

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