Imports of Two Lion Subspecies Restricted, Wildlife Permitting Requirements Strengthened
Effective Jan. 22, 2016, the Fish and Wildlife Service will list two lion subspecies under the Endangered Species Act. Panthera leo leo, located in India and western and central Africa, will be listed as endangered, which will generally prohibit imports of this animal with certain exceptions. Panthera leo melanochaita, located in eastern and southern Africa, will be listed as threatened, but the rule establishes a permitting mechanism regulating imports of this animal and all parts and products, including live animals and sport-hunted trophies, to ensure that imported specimens are legally obtained in range countries as part of a scientifically sound management program that benefits the subspecies in the wild.
Concurrent with this rule, to protect lions and other foreign and domestic wildlife from criminal activity, FWS Director Dan Ashe issued an order strengthening enforcement of wildlife permitting requirements by ensuring that violators of wildlife laws are not subsequently granted permits for future wildlife-related activities, including the import of sport-hunted trophies.
Finally, the FWS states that it is working to increase the fees it charges for permit applications.