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African lions are reportedly in danger of extinction and that’s the reason why the majestic felines need protection in order to save their species, the US government said Monday. The sobering news came as part of the agency’s announcement that it has officially proposed that African lions receive much-needed protection under the Endangered Species Act.
It appears that US sportsmen and women kill the most lions on the African continent as depicted by an agency yet this is not the primary reason to dwindling lion populations since 1980. 30,000 lions remain now as opposed to 76,000 in the year 1980 which shows a drop of about two thirds. Instead loss of Habitat, lack of prey and increased conflict with humans are to blame for such an aggravating decline in the lion population.
Even the decision to list the big cats as threatened, one level below endangered, would allow the U.S. government to provide some level of training and assistance for on-the-ground conservation efforts and restrict the sale of lion parts or hunting trophies into the country or across state lines.
“Following a review of the best available scientific information, the US Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed listing the African lion as threatened under the Endangered Species Act,” the FWS said in a statement. “The agency’s analysis found that lions are in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future.”
Aside from loss of habitat, humans are encroaching on the lions’ territory, creating increasing conflicts with people over prey. According to the agency, humans are overhunting lion prey, causing the predators to target livestock instead, which then leads to retaliatory killings by humans. African lions typically eat large animals that they find in their grassland territory, including antelopes, zebras and wildebeest.
Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said “the full protection of U.S. law” would be brought to the endangered animals. “It is up to all of us, not just the people of Africa, to ensure that healthy, wild populations continue to roam the savannah for generations to come,” he said.
The African lion is 4.5 to 6.5 feet long from its head to its rump, and its tail measures about 26 to 40 inches long. African lions typically weigh 265 to 420 pounds.