New lion regulations USFWS

Hogpatrol

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Obama administration enacts protections for lions

By KEVIN FREKING 23 minutes ago

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration's decision to extend Endangered Species Act protections for two breeds of lions is a turning point for the lions now roaming Africa, say advocacy groups who petitioned the federal government to list the lion as endangered.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service signaled in a document obtained by the Associated Press that it would classify the lion as threatened or endangered across its entire range in Africa. The agency has scheduled a noon conference call to discuss its findings.

The listings are accompanied by a directive 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 signaled 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.



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File-This Sept. 8, 2015, file photo shows Walter Palmer arriving at River Bluff Dental clinic in Blo …
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.

The Humane Society of the United States projects that American trophy hunters imported 5,647 lions in the past decade. The group's president and CEO, Wayne Pacelle, said he expects that the regulations will make it much harder to bring lion hides back to the U.S, thus removing a key motivation for hunters.

"If a particular hunt is not associated with a broader conservation program, it can't come in," Pacelle said.

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 didn't break the country's hunting laws.
 

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Hank2211

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Very sorry for our American friends, and very sorry for the lions.

Since I try to find the positive in everything, I am hoping that this results in lower costs for hunters from countries who follow CITES rather than their own judgment!
 

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After Cecil Furor, U.S. Aims to Protect Lions Through Endangered Species Act
A lion in Kenya. In Kenya and some other African countries, hunting lions is illegal, but in others, tougher American import rules could reduce the number killed by hunters.
Ben Curtis / Associated Press
By ERICA GOODE
December 20, 2015

Five months after a lion named Cecil was shot and killed in Zimbabwe by a Minnesota dentist, the Obama administration has decided to place lions in Africa under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, an action that will set a higher bar for hunters who want to bring lion trophies into the United States.

Lions in central and West Africa will be listed as endangered, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service, which announced the change on Monday. Lions in southern and East Africa will be classified as threatened, with a special rule that prods countries to regulate sport hunting of lions in ways that promote conservation.

Both designations, the agency said, will result in stricter criteria for the import of live lions and lion parts, like heads, paws or skins.

Trophies from countries where lions are endangered will be “generally prohibited,” except in very limited circumstances, the agency said.

Trophies could still be imported from nations where lions are listed as threatened — like Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa, all popular countries for American hunters — as long as they met the standards set under the special rule and the animals were killed legally.

Daniel M. Ashe, the director of the wildlife service, called the lion “one of the planet’s most beloved species.” The agency said its decision was a response to the drastic decline of lion populations in the wild.

The government is acting almost five years after conservation groups petitioned to have the African lion listed as endangered, and the final ruling offers stronger protections than a 2014 proposal by the administration, under which lions in all African countries would have been classified as threatened.

The wildlife agency attributed the change to “newly available scientific information on the genetics and taxonomy of lions.”

But Wayne Pacelle, the president of the Humane Society of the United States, one of five conservation groups that petitioned to have the lion listed, said he thought that the killing of Cecil was “a defining moment.”

Wildlife biologists and conservation groups have warned for years that lion numbers had plunged across much of Africa, depleted by habitat loss, retaliatory killings by farmers and herders, and, in some countries, poorly regulated trophy hunting. In a recent study, scientists projected that without major intervention, the number of lions in Africa could be halved in the next 20 years. Only about 20,000 lions remain on the continent, according to some estimates.

But the killing of Cecil, a lion that had been lured out of a protected national park, seemed to galvanize public attention.

Cecil’s death in July set off an international debate and incited so much vitriol on the Internet that the dentist, Walter J. Palmer, closed his office for two weeks.

In the months since, France has banned the import of lion trophies, and Britain has said it will do so in 2017, barring “significant improvement in the performance of the hunting industry.” More than 40 airlines have also said they will no longer transport hunting trophies.

Mr. Pacelle said Cecil had “changed the atmospherics on the issue of trophy hunting around the world.”

He added, “I think it gave less wiggle room to regulators.”

Most conservation groups and wildlife biologists said the government’s decision was a step forward.

“I am pleased,” said luke hunter, president of Panthera, an organization devoted to the conservation of big cats. “I think they have used, clearly, a fair amount of science in the decision, and as I understand it, it is a significant improvement on their first proposal.”

Jeffrey Flocken, the North American regional director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which was also a petitioner, said of the listings, “this is huge, and we’re really excited.”

He said he hoped the listings, which will go into effect Jan. 22, would “greatly curtail” trophy hunting. In some African countries, like Kenya, lion hunting is already illegal.

The federal government cannot regulate hunting in other countries, but because many trophy hunters are American, the tougher standards for imports could reduce the number of lions killed by hunters.

Hunting organizations, however, said the administration’s action, by making it harder to import trophies, would end up hurting lions.

“We will be looking to see how the U.S.F.W.S. substantiates its final rule, as we currently believe the record of information fails to justify this listing,” said Joseph Hosmer, the president of the Safari Club International Foundation, referring to the wildlife agency.

The foundation and other pro-hunting organizations, as well as many Africans, argue that the money from sport hunting in Africa helps poor countries maintain robust conservation programs and provides aid to local residents.

But Hans Bauer, a lion expert at Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, said the tighter regulation imposed by the threatened listing seemed to represent “a last chance” for sport hunting in East Africa.

“The burden of proof is now shifted,” Dr. Bauer said. “Under this new ruling, countries must not only prove that hunting is not bad for lions; they must prove that it is good for lions.”

He added: “Many have challenged the hunting industry to show some figures to support their claim that the revenues from lion hunting support lion conservation, but the industry has been notoriously opaque and has long resisted calls for reform. This must now change.”

Wildlife experts said listing lions under the Endangered Species Act was likely to influence international classifications of the big cats.

Currently, lions are listed under Appendix 2 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which comprises species that are not yet threatened with extinction but may become so. The action by the United States, some experts said, could lead to some lions being moved to Appendix 1, which prohibits almost all international trade.

The listings by the Fish and Wildlife Service treat lions in different regions as two genetically distinct subspecies, a division that echoes international classifications and is supported by scientific data.

One, in central and West Africa, has numbers that are so low — only about 900 — that the endangered status was “a bit late,” Dr. Bauer said. Lions in India belonging to the same subspecies, which number about 500, are already on the endangered list.

Lions in southern and East Africa, where most trophy hunting occurs, number from 17,000 to 19,000, according to the wildlife agency. Under the new rule, the agency will create a permit process, and hunters who want to bring lion trophies into the United States will have to show that the imports were “legally obtained” from countries that have “a scientifically sound management program that benefits the subspecies in the wild,” according to the wildlife service.

The agency said it planned to collect information from conservation groups and scientists about the hunting and conservation practices of countries and would not rely solely on what governments said about their policies.

But some conservationists and lion experts said they would watch closely for how rigorous the agency would be in vetting countries.

“We are anxious to see how it works in practice,” Mr. Pacelle said.

Craig Packer, a lion expert who for 35 years ran the Serengeti Lion Project in Tanzania and has been critical of hunting practices in that country, said, “I hope they will take seriously the impact that corruption has on the performance of particular countries, particularly Tanzania.”

Dr. Packer said corruption “subverts any good conservation practices in these hunting blocks.” He added that bad behavior by hunting companies and government officials should have consequences.

Along with listing the lions under the Endangered Species Act, Mr. Ashe, the wildlife agency director, is issuing an order that will prohibit anyone who has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a wildlife violation from obtaining a permit to import sport hunting trophies.

“Importing sport-hunted trophies and other wildlife or animal parts into the United States is a privilege, not a right,” Mr. Ashe said.

Correction: December 21, 2015
An earlier version of this article misstated the length of time that Dr. Walter J. Palmer’s office was closed after the death of the lion named Cecil in July. Although Dr. Palmer did not return to the office for six weeks, the office itself was only closed for two weeks.
 

johnnyblues

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In a nut shell does this mean lion hunting is over for those of us who wanted to do it in SA?
 

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I don't think so, it's just going to be like elephants in that they only be imported from certain countries.
 

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In a nut shell does this mean lion hunting is over for those of us who wanted to do it in SA?

It appears to be a numbers game and knowing how many lions are in the country and then setting a quota each year for accountability. SA has had issues in the past with the Accountability of Leopards taken for hunter to obtain export of the trophy. I would estimate that until a system is set up that the USFWS recognizes any importing of Lion trophy's will be a no go.

I am not sure that South Africa and some other African countries will have the means to set this up quickly for the 2016 safari season... It may take years to satisfy the USFWS requirements.

Maybe if a new President (republican) this could change in 2017.
 

thi9elsp

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This is another step along the path of USFWS attempting to manage other countries' resources by requiring proof of sound management principles. Just like the elephant ban for Tanzania and Zimbabwe. I expect that USFWS will continue to take the stance that the countries' don't have sound management principles; therefore, we won't allow imports of lions.

A country like Namibia which appears to be in good favor with USFWS on the sound management principles will probably see more demand and an increase in prices as hunters adapt to these rules.

Then, I suspect, where the USFWS determines that countries do NOT have sound management principles we will see the trophy fees for other animals increase, just as has happened with elephant import impact on Zimbabwe prices. It used to be a few years ago that buffalo trophy fees in Zimbabwe were $3,500 - $4,500. Now, it seems most are pricing them at $5,000 plus. I assume that is a direct result of the loss of revenue from the elephant import restrictions to the US.
 

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............ It used to be a few years ago that buffalo trophy fees in Zimbabwe were $3,500 - $4,500. Now, it seems most are pricing them at $5,000 plus. I assume that is a direct result of the loss of revenue from the elephant import restrictions to the US.

This price increase was much more about the Zim government deciding at the last minute that the government fees needed to be higher. They raised them without notice and left a lot of Outfitters hanging.
Now it is just the way it is.
 

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Here is Dan Ashe on the subject. Right from the horses mouth!



Interesting ideas about wildlife law violators being excluded from getting permits.

I wonder how many poachers and wildlife traffickers apply for permits??
 
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Royal27

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This price increase was much more about the Zim government deciding at the last minute that the government fees needed to be higher. They raised them without notice and left a lot of Outfitters hanging.
Now it is just the way it is.

And the big price increase went into place at the beginning of the 2014 season, just before the ele ban.

See my avatar if anyone wonders how I know this.... :mad::mad::mad:
 

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BRICKBURN

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And the big price increase went into place at the beginning of the 2014 season, just before the ele ban.

See my avatar if anyone wonders how I know this.... :mad::mad::mad:

I'll bet it added up to something like this...

:S Dollar::S Dollar::S Dollar::S Dollar::S Dollar::S Dollar::S Dollar::S Dollar::S Dollar::S Dollar::S Dollar::S Dollar::S Dollar::S Dollar::S Dollar::S Dollar::S Dollar::S Dollar::S Dollar::S Dollar::S Dollar::S Dollar::S Dollar::S Dollar::S Dollar::S Dollar:
 

wesheltonj

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Lets see, can't bring some lions into the USA anymore and the others will require a permit from hell. How does this stop locals from killing them, poachers shipping to Asia and else where?
 
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enysse

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The death of hunting, putting legislation in place that will never satisfy the uneducated bean counters.
 

Hank2211

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Interesting ideas about wildlife law violators being excluded from getting permits.

I wonder how many poachers and wildlife traffickers apply for permits??

Brickburn, I think the issue is that no one really knows yet how this will be interpreted or implemented. I would think that there are a fair number of people who might have been guilty of very minor violations of wildlife laws in the past - now the USFWS is saying if they ever want to hunt outside of the US they can't bring certain trophies back?

On a bear hunt some years ago I left my license in the pants I'd worn on the first day (the perils of starting too early). I had the tag on me, but not the license, although I did have a license. I didn't run into a fish and game officer on that day, but if I had, and if he'd asked for my permit, and if he'd been a hard ass, I could have been fined (a minor amount) for not having the permit on me, even if I didn't have a bear. That's technically a violation of wildlife laws.

Should I be banned from ever importing hunting trophies?
 

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Lets see, can't bring some lions into the USA anymore and the others will require a permit from hell. How does this stop locals from killing them, poachers shipping to Asia and else where?

Devil's advocate for a minute here....

I'd argue that by threatening to take away additional monies (hunting dollars) you would give the local government additional incentive to put more money and effort into addressing local issues more agressively, and this MIGHT even be true although I doubt it over there.

Where I have the real issue is our government sticking its nose where it doesn't belong. Is saving the lion all of our responsibility? YES!!! Is it USFWS responsibility? NO!!!

This one is just a pretty one to tackle "in the name of good." And on the whole don't let anyone who has ever broken a law not import issue, oh geez.... What a slippery slope.... I guess if a logging company has ever cut downa tree with a yellow bellied sap sucking owl nest in it they should be banned from purchasing chain saws. Chain saws are after all, a privelege, not a right.
 

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Here is Dan Ashe on the subject. Right from the horses mouth!














Well you are mostly right about Mr. Ashe... Just the wrong end of the horse.
 

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Ok. I've heard what everyone here is saying. Now let's see what the stewards of hunters do.....SCI. Everyone here remember them ? First for hunters. Cynical? Yes! Sorry fellow hunters I have witnessed as you all have just how much they've done recently. Other than pushing some bullshit stock and advertising for folks to visit there convention what have we heard from them? Not much folks. I feel as though we're on our own. And I don't like it.
 

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If I watch one more Dan Ashe video I am going to be sick. He sold out hunters and might as well of just start poisoning lions. But those poisoned lions won't be imported so I guess no one cares. SMH.
 

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