The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Political intentions as well!
Unless you somehow avoided the Internet in 2015, you no doubt witnessed the uproar over Cecil the lion. The well-known lion was illegally killed by an American trophy hunter in Zimbabwe earlier this year, setting off a firestorm on social media and fueling calls for an end to trophy hunting in Africa. (Zimbabwe now says it will not charge Walter Palmer, an American dentist, for killing the lion, but charges are still pending for his guide and a nearby landowner for allowing the hunt without proper permits and for allegedly baiting and luring the lion outside of a national park.) Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service responded by announcing that it will formally list African lions under the Endangered Species Act. You might think the Endangered Species Act applies only to species found in the United States. But the FWS also imposes restrictions on trophy imports of foreign species that are found to be endangered abroad. With the new listing, imported lion trophies will be generally prohibited in the United States, except in cases “when it can be found that the import will have a benefit to the species.” Since American hunters make up the lion’s share of African-lion trophy hunts, this move could have a big effect on Africa’s conservation outcomes.
The new rule will create a permit process for importing lion trophies. Hunters will be able to bring sport-hunted lion trophies into the United States only if the trophies are legally obtained from countries with “a scientifically sound management program that benefits the subspecies in the wild.” Exactly how the FWS will determine whether a hunt benefits the species — and how much this new rule will limit trophy hunting in Africa — is not yet clear
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