The July killing of Cecil the lion, which became one of the biggest stories of the year, drew ire around the globe after dentist Walter Palmer baited the lion out of a protected national park in Zimbabwe and hunted him in legal territory. The United States will announce today its decision to place African lions under the purview of the Endangered Species Act, listing lions in central and West Africa as endangered and lions in southern and Eastern Africa as threatened. Endangered species are in danger of extinction and can generally not be hunted and threatened species are likely to become endangered in the future.
The Endangered Species Act is the strongest federal law protecting wildlife and plants and it is not uncommon for foreign species to be protected. Since Cecil was killed, animal rights groups have lobbied for lion protections under the Act. The new protections will limit hunting trophies entering the United States from Africa. France and the UK have made similar moves to restrict trophy imports.