Science | November 17, 2017 10:59 am

Hunters Can Now Import African Lion Trophies, Too

Lions shot in Zimbabwe and Zambia are eligible to be shipped to the U.S.

A Barbary lion baby stands next to its father "Schroeder" on June 26, 2017 at the zoo in Neuwied, western Germany.
Five Barbary lion babies were born at the zoo on April 19, 2017. (Getty/AFP PHOTO/dpa/Thomas Frey / Germany)
A Barbary lion baby stands next to its father "Schroeder" on June 26, 2017 at the zoo in Neuwied, western Germany. Five Barbary lion babies were born at the zoo on April 19, 2017. (Getty/AFP PHOTO/dpa/Thomas Frey / Germany)

In a major legislative win for hunters, African elephants can now be shot for sport and shipped to the United States as President Trump begins to roll back restrictions on the importation of hunting trophies, The Guardian reports. It appears that regulations against lion imports will be peeled back next, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service quietly updated its import list to include hunted lions from Zambia and Zimbabwe.

“This all suggests that rather than being the protectors of wildlife, the federal government is now a promoter of trophy hunting,” Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, told The Guardian.

“They are rolling out the red carpet to the next Walter Palmer, and that same sort of situation will happen all over again,” Pacelle noted, making a reference to the dentist from Minnesota who sparked an international backlash after shooting and killing Cecil the famous lion.

Conservation groups loudly oppose the move, noting that African lion populations have dropped 42 percent in the last two decades, with lions on various parts of the continent suffering from various reasons that range from habitat loss and agriculture growth to poaching and commercial hunting. Elephants are also endangered, with an estimated 415,000 left on the continent.