If you haven’t heard yet, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) has made a ruling to list the lion as two subspecies under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Effective today, under the ESA (this is an important distinction), the lion will now be Panthera leo leo and Panthera leo melanchaita.
The ruling also includes some new regulations on hunting permit requirements. Anyone convicted of or who has pled guilty to violations of wildlife laws will be denied a permit. They will also only allow the importation of sport-hunted trophies from countries with established conservation programs and well-managed lion populations to help support and strengthen the accountability of conservation programs in other nations.
This ruling seems fair but their use of previously and currently used subspecies names may get a little convoluted in the overall scheme of things. It seems as though USFWS is showing a genuine concern in looking after the best interest of the African lion but I think more research is still needed (and not just because I’m one of the ones doing it) to make decisions that will be beneficial for both the lions and the countries they live in.