U.S. Endangered Species Act to protect African lion populations

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is expected to extend Endangered Species Act protections for two breeds of lions, in response to a large decline in their numbers in Africa over the past two decades.

See Full Article

The listings are to be announced Monday and include an order that appears to touch on circumstances surrounding the killing of a well-known lion named Cecil in Zimbabwe earlier this year. The order states that 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.

Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who shot Cecil with a bow and arrow, had pleaded guilty in 2008 to making false statements to the Fish and Wildlife Service about a black bear fatally shot in western Wisconsin outside an authorized hunting zone.

The Fish and Wildlife Service cautioned against linking the order with Cecil's death, describing the action instead as a redoubling of efforts to ensure that violators of wildlife laws don't reap future benefits from importing wildlife and wildlife products.

The administration signalled it would protect lions in Africa long before Cecil's case caught the public's attention. The Fish and Wildlife Service proposed a rule in October 2014 to list the African lion as threatened. After getting feedback, the agency revised its findings.

It determined that two subspecies of lions live in Africa. One group, found primarily in western and central countries, is more genetically related to the Asiatic lion. Only about 1,400 remain in Africa and India. The agency is listing that subspecies as endangered, meaning it risks extinction.

A second subspecies, numbering between 17,000 and 19,000 and found across southern and eastern Africa, will be listed as threatened.

The Endangered Species Act requires the Fish and Wildlife Service to list species as endangered or threatened regardless of the country where they live.

"If we want to ensure that healthy lion populations continue to roam the Africa savannas and forests of India, it's up to all of us -- not just the people of Africa and India -- to take action," said Dan Ashe, the agency's director.

The listings will bring extra protection for both subspecies: A permit would be required before importing any live or sport-hunted lions. The bar for an import permit would be highest with the endangered group, with permits granted if importing the animal would enhance the species' survival.

The permitting process for the threatened group would require the import to come from nations that have sound conservation practices and use trophy hunting revenue to sustain lion populations and deter poaching. Currently, sport hunters don't need a permit from the U.S. to bring in a trophy lion.

Ashe said trophy hunting can and does contribute to the survival of species in the wild as part of a well-managed conservation program. The new permitting requirements in the U.S. will encourage African countries to improve their lion management programs. The agency said hundreds of sport-hunted trophy lions are brought into the U.S. each year.

The agency already has authority to deny an import permit to individuals who have violated federal and state wildlife laws. Ashe's order essentially turns that authority into a requirement.

"Importing sport-hunted trophies and other wildlife or animal parts into the United States is a privilege, not a right, a privilege that violators of wildlife laws have demonstrated they do not deserve," Ashe said.

The agency said its investigation into the Cecil's killing is ongoing and declined to comment directly on the case.

Cecil was a major tourist attraction in Hwange National Park and was being monitored as part of an Oxford University study. Palmer said he shot the big cat outside the park's borders, but it didn't die immediately and was tracked down the next day.

Palmer said he would not have shot the animal if anybody in the hunting party has known of the lion's status. Zimbabwe officials cleared Palmer of wrongdoing in October, saying he did not break the country's hunting laws.



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • Neuroscientist who studied Einstein's brain dies at 90

    Tech & Science CTV News
    OAKLAND, Calif. -- A founder of modern neuroscience who studied Einstein's brain has died. The University of California, Berkeley says Marian Cleeves Diamond was 90 when she died July 25 at her home in Oakland. Source
  • Marian Cleeves Diamond, who studied Albert Einstein's brain, dead at 90

    Tech & Science CTV News
    OAKLAND, Calif. -- Marian Cleeves Diamond, a neuroscientist who studied Albert Einstein's brain and was one of the first to show that the brain can improve with enrichment, has died. The University of California, Berkeley, where Diamond was a professor emerita of integrative biology, confirmed Diamond died July 25 at her home in Oakland, California. Source
  • Turkey bones may help trace fate of ancient cliff dwellers

    Tech & Science CTV News
    DENVER -- Researchers say they have found a new clue into the mysterious exodus of ancient cliff-dwelling people from the Mesa Verde area of Colorado more than 700 years ago: DNA from the bones of domesticated turkeys. Source
  • Scientist looking to bats and bees in fight against antibiotic-resistant superbugs

    Tech & Science CBC News
    A researcher in Halifax hopes that a new high-tech tool will help discover superbug-fighting antibiotics from an unusual source — bat and honeybee colonies. "[Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are] a major concern for hospitals around the world and certainly in Canada and right now," said Clarissa Sit, assistant professor of chemistry at Saint Mary's University. Source
  • July ranks 2nd for heat globally, hottest recorded on land

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Earth yet again sizzled with unprecedented heat last month. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday Earth sweated to its second hottest month since recordkeeping began in 1880. At 61.89 degrees (16.63 Celsius), last month was behind July 2016's all-time record by .09 degrees. Source
  • Spacewalking cosmonauts release 3-D-printed satellite

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Spacewalking cosmonauts have set free the world's first satellite made with a 3-D printer. Russians Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy ventured outside the International Space Station on Thursday. They promptly released five nanosatellites by hand. Source
  • Spacewalking cosmonauts release 3D-printed satellite

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Spacewalking cosmonauts set free the world's first satellite made almost entirely with a 3D printer on Thursday. In total, Russians Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy ended up releasing five nanosatellites by hand. Source
  • Ancient species of giant sloth discovered in Mexico

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Mexican scientists said Wednesday they have discovered the fossilized remains of a previously unknown species of giant sloth that lived 10,000 years ago and died at the bottom of a sinkhole. The Pleistocene-era remains were found in 2010, but were so deep inside the water-filled sinkhole that researchers were only gradually able to piece together what they were, the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) said in announcing the find. Source
  • Seaworld veterinarians euthanize company's last wild-born killer whale

    Tech & Science CTV News
    SAN DIEGO -- SeaWorld euthanized one of the entertainment company's last killer whales to come from the wild, marking the third orca death this year at one of its marine parks. Kasatka died Tuesday evening "surrounded by members of her pod, as well as the veterinarians and caretakers who loved her," after battling lung disease for years, the company said in a statement. Source
  • Loss of sea ice leads walruses to early appearance in Alaska

    Tech & Science CTV News
    ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says Pacific walruses have begun coming ashore along Alaska's northwest coast, and it's likely because sea ice in the Arctic Ocean already has receded beyond the outer continental shelf. Source