美國魚類及野生動物管理局（United States Fish and Wildlife Service，FWS）27日表示，非洲獅（Panthera leo）「有可預見的滅絕危機」，提案將非洲獅列入《瀕危物種法》保護對象。
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed listing the African lion as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, saying its analysis finds the lions are “in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future.”
The three main threats facing the African lion, Panthera leo, at this time are habitat loss, loss of prey animals, and increased human-lion conflict.
“Sport-hunting was not found to be a threat to the species at this time,” the Service said in a statement announcing the proposal.
Still, the Service is also proposing a rule under the Endangered Species Act that would establish a permitting mechanism for the importation of sport-hunted lion trophies, provided that the lions originate from countries with a scientifically sound management plan for the species.
Conservation groups say a strong permitting system is critical because the U.S. imports over half of the hundreds of lion trophies brought home by trophy hunters globally each year.
African lions are still found across a large range in Africa, but about 70 percent of the current African lion population exists in only 10 major strongholds, the Service said
“By providing incentives through the permitting process to countries and individuals who are actively contributing to lion conservation, the Service will be able to leverage a greater level of conservation than may otherwise be available,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe.
The authoritative Red List of Threatened Species maintained by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, IUCN, lists the African lion as Vulnerable, with a population trend that is “declining.”
The U.S. Endangered Species Act benefits foreign species by prohibiting or regulating their import, export, commercial activity, interstate commerce and foreign commerce.
The Act can generate conservation benefits such as increased awareness of listed species, research efforts, funding for in-situ conservation of the species in its range countries, and limited funding for programs to conserve listed species in foreign countries, including personnel and training.
In 2011, a petition from a coalition of organizations requesting the Service to list the African lion as endangered prompted a formal review under the Act. On November 27, 2012, the Service published a positive 90-day finding and initiated a status review of the subspecies.
In today’s 12-month finding on the petition, the Service determined that listing the African lion as threatened throughout its entire range is warranted.
“Lion numbers have declined by more than half in the last three decades. To allow trophy hunting to continue unabated is kicking an animal while it’s already down,” said Jeff Flocken, North American regional director, International Fund for Animal Welfare.
A recent study found that the West African lion population is critically imperiled with roughly 400 lions in total found in only four protected areas (down from 21 in 2005).
The most current estimates state that there are an estimated 2,000 lions left in Central Africa; 18,000 in East Africa and 11,000 in Southern Africa.