Africa’s lions may finally be getting a much-needed protection that they have desperately needed over the last several years – as hunting and killing has severely reduced the total numbers of the species. The proposed rule would make lions threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

However, the law would make it illegal to kill, or hunt captive lions in the United States unless a permit is obtained from the proper authorities beforehand. It would also impact future sales of lions and lion parts. The problem though, globally is that even if lions are protected here in the United States, they could still be killed, and brought back to the United States – from places like Africa – as trophies, assuming they get the right permits from the countries that they’re exporting said lions.

The argument though is that recreational, and properly regulated hunting, as is known by many Americans hunting in Africa – does not pose a serious risk to the population of Lions. That argument goes on to assert that habitat loss, lack of prey, and increased conflict with humans is what is ultimately to blame for the decline in population numbers.

The population of lions has significantly dwindled. In fact, it’s estimated that since 1980 – when there were as many as 76,000 lions roaming Africa, that there are only approximately 35,000 today.

Human development, agriculture, and human-related elements are, of course, to blame for this problem. However, many argue that a portion of the deaths associated with lions is due to the retaliation of animals as their habitats are continued to be impacted. Dan Ashe, the director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, pointed out that “Lions are declining, and unless we do something to intervene, it’s likely they will become endangered in the foreseeable future.”

Eventually, that would mean the population would disappear entirely at some point in the future, following that time. Designating lions as being endangered would ensure that conservation programs are established, and built on to ensure that the population numbers can at least maintain a steady level – if not find appropriate places where it can be grown again.

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The lion population is one that the globe does not want to see become endangered or extinct, simply due to the fact that it is one of the most identifiable creatures on earth.