It was big news when the hammer dropped on Dec. 21, 2015, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) ruled to list African lions under the Endangered Species Act. The ruling places U.S. government restrictions on African trophy importation, requiring American hunters to obtain a special import permit for any lion taken on or after Jan. 22, though it was unclear from which countries the FWS will issue import permits—or when. SCI is hosting an informal seminar about the recent listing during the 44th SCI Annual Hunters Convention. Titled “What Were They Thinking?—the African Lion Rule,” the seminar is set for Saturday, Feb. 6, at 2 p.m. in the Breakers B at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
In the meantime, while this obviously impacts hunters who planned to book an African lion hunt during the SCI Hunters’ Convention or Great American Outdoor Show this week, those who already booked a lion hunt should contact their outfitter and discuss options. Note that the restrictions apply to both wild and captive-bred lion hunts.
Hunters importing lion trophies taken before Jan. 22 are not required to obtain the new import permit so the hunters my husband, Phil, and I met while hunting in Africa last summer are exempt as any lion taken is considered “pre-Act.” However, at the time of import, have official documentation on hand for the FWS inspector to show when your lion was taken.
For any hunters unaware of the new restrictions or anyone who needs more information, the following link to the American Hunter website provides a full overview of the scenario.
In addition, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service compiled a fact sheet aimed to answer initial questions, including how to apply for a permit. For more information, contact the USFWS, Division of Management Authority: 800-358-2104; [email protected].