The United States will place a breed of lion found in India and Africa in the endangered species list in a bid to curb the dramatic decline of their population.
- As per U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, it will list Panthera leo leo (a subspecies of lion) located in India and western and central Africa as endangered
- Panthera leo melanochaita, located in eastern and southern Africa, will be listed as threatened.
Considering the size and distribution of the populations, population trends and the severity of the threats, the Service has found that the subspecies meets the definition of endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
- There are only about 1,400 of Panthera leo leo lions remaining, 900 in 14 African populations and 523 in India.
- The other subspecies of Panthera leo melanochaita likely numbers between 17,000 and 19,000. This subspecies is less vulnerable and is not currently in danger of extinction.
Decline of Lion Population
In the last 20 years, lion populations have declined by 43% due to habitat loss, loss of prey base and retaliatory killing of lions by a growing human population.
- In this regard National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking will ensure that violators of wildlife laws are not subsequently granted permits for future wildlife-related activities, including the import of sport-hunted trophies.
With an endangered listing, imports of Panthera leo leo will generally be prohibited, except in certain cases, such as when it can be found that the import will enhance the survival of the species.