Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing the African Lion Subspecies as Threatened With a Rule Under Section 4(d) of the ESA

 
CONTENT

Federal Register, Volume 79 Issue 209 (Wednesday, October 29, 2014)

Federal Register Volume 79, Number 209 (Wednesday, October 29, 2014)

Proposed Rules

Pages 64471-64502

From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office www.gpo.gov

FR Doc No: 2014-25731

Page 64471

Vol. 79

Wednesday,

No. 209

October 29, 2014

Part II

Department of the Interior

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Fish and Wildlife Service

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50 CFR Part 17

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing the African Lion Subspecies as Threatened With a Rule Under Section 4(d) of the ESA; Proposed Rule

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

Docket No. FWS-R9-ES-2012-0025; 450 003 0115

RIN 1018-BA29

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing the African Lion Subspecies as Threatened With a Rule Under Section 4(d) of the ESA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule and 12-month finding.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a proposed rule and a 12-month finding on a petition to list the African lion (Panthera leo leo) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). After review of the best available scientific and commercial information, we find that listing the subspecies Panthera leo leo as threatened is warranted, and we propose to list the subspecies as threatened. We are also proposing a rule under section 4(d) of the Act to provide for conservation measures for the African lion. To ensure that subsequent rulemaking resulting from this proposed rule is as accurate and effective as possible, we are soliciting information from the scientific community; other governmental agencies, including those within the range of the African lion; nongovernmental organizations; the public; and any other interested parties.

DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before January 27, 2015. We must receive requests for public hearings, in writing, at the address shown in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT by December 15, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:

(1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search field, enter FWS-R9-ES-2012-0025, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. Then, click the Search button. You may submit a comment by clicking on ``Comment Now!''

(2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R9-ES-2012-0025, Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Janine Van Norman, Chief, Branch of Foreign Species, Ecological Services, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: ES, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803; telephone, 703-358-2171; facsimile, 703-358-1735. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Executive Summary

  1. Purpose of the Regulatory Action

    Under the Act, a species may warrant protection through listing if it is found to be an endangered or threatened species throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Under the Act, if a species is determined to be endangered or threatened we are required to publish in the Federal Register a proposed rule to list the species. The purpose of this proposed listing determination is to publish and seek comments on our 12-month finding on a petition to add the African lion to the list of threatened and endangered species.

  2. Major Provision of the Regulatory Action

    After review of the best available scientific and commercial information, we find that listing the African lion as threatened is warranted, and we announce a proposed rule to list the subspecies as threatened. We are also proposing a 4(d) rule to provide for conservation measures for the African lion.

  3. Costs and Benefits

    We have not analyzed the costs or benefits of this rulemaking action because the Act precludes consideration of such impacts on listing and delisting determinations. Instead, listing and delisting decisions are based solely on the best scientific and commercial information available regarding the status of the subject species.

    Information Requested

    Section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act directs that determinations as to whether any species is an endangered or threatened species must be made solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available. Therefore, we request comments or information from other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific community, industry, and any other interested parties concerning this proposed rule. We particularly seek comments concerning:

    (1) The subspecies' biology, range, and population trends, including:

    (a) Genetics and taxonomy;

    (b) Historical and current range, including distribution;

    (c) Historical and current population levels;

    (d) Information pertaining to range countries' regulatory mechanisms, including specific laws and regulations pertaining to loss of habitat, loss of prey base, and human-lion conflict.

    (e) Information pertaining to range countries' management plans, including information on management and implementation of hunting concessions, conservation measures in place for this subspecies and its habitat, community education and outreach programs that address lion conservation, revenue gained from trophy hunting and how it is allocated, and any information pertaining to long-term conservation of lions and their habitat and prey base; and

    (f) Potential threats not already identified, such as extractive activities.

    (2) The factors that are the basis for making a listing determination for a species or subspecies under section 4(a)(1) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), which are:

    (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range;

    (B) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;

    (C) Disease or predation;

    (D) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or

    (E) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.

    (3) The potential effects of climate change on the subspecies and its habitat.

    Please include sufficient information with your submission (such as scientific journal articles or other publications) to allow us to verify any scientific or commercial information you include. Submissions merely stating support for or opposition to the action under consideration without providing supporting information, although noted, will not be considered in making a determination.

    We request that you send comments only by the methods described above in ADDRESSES. We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. If you submit information via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire submission--including any personal identifying information--will be posted on the Web site. If your submission is made via a hardcopy that includes personal identifying information, you may request at the top of your document that we withhold this information from public review. However, we cannot

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    guarantee that we will be able to do so. Please include sufficient information with your comments to allow us to verify any scientific or commercial information you include.

    Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation we used in preparing this proposed rule, will be available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, Branch of Foreign Species (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

    Public Hearing

    At this time, we do not have a public hearing scheduled for this proposed rule. The main purpose of most public hearings is to obtain public testimony or comment. In most cases, it is sufficient to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal, described above in ADDRESSES. If you would like to request a public hearing for this proposed rule, you must submit your request, in writing, to the person listed in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT by the date specified in DATES.

    Peer Review

    In accordance with our policy published on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we will solicit the expert opinions of at least three appropriate and independent specialists for peer review of this proposed rule. The purpose of such review is to ensure that decisions are based on scientifically sound data, assumptions, and analysis. We will send peer reviewers copies of this proposed rule immediately following publication in the Federal Register. We will invite peer reviewers to comment, during the public comment period, on the specific assumptions and conclusions regarding the proposed listing status of threatened for the African lion subspecies. We will summarize the opinions of these reviewers in the final decision document, and we will consider their input and any additional information we receive, as part of our process of making a final decision on the proposal.

    Peer review is an important tool at our disposal to help evaluate the quality of the data and analyses we rely on in our decision making processes. The 1994 peer review policy commits us to soliciting the expert opinions of ``appropriate and independent specialists regarding pertinent scientific or commercial data and assumptions relating to taxonomy . . . for species under consideration for listing.'' The policy also requires that our final decision must document the opinions of all the independent peer reviewers, and that all information regarding peer review be included in the administrative record. All proposed listing rules must be peer reviewed according to this policy and to applicable standards under the Service's guidelines for implementing the Information Quality Act and the December 15, 2004, Office of Management and Budget Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review.

    Petition History and Previous Federal Action(s)

    On March 1, 2011, we received a petition dated the same day from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International, the Born Free Foundation/

    Born Free USA, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Fund for Animals requesting that the African lion subspecies be listed as endangered under the Act. The petition identified itself as such and included the information as required by 50 CFR 424.14(a). On November 27, 2012, we published a ``positive'' 90-day finding (77 FR 70727) indicating that we would initiate a status review of the African lion. This document consists of our proposed rule and our determination on the status review for the African lion and publishes our finding. Our status review may be obtained at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS-R9-ES-2012-0025.

    Conservation Status of the African Lion

    U.S. Endangered Species Act

    The African lion (Panthera leo leo) is currently not listed as either endangered or threatened under the Act, although the Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) has been listed as endangered since 1970 under the Act and its precursor, the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969.

    International Union for the Conservation of Nature

    In 2008, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classified the African lion as vulnerable with a declining population trend, which means the species is considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild (Bauer et al. 2008, unpaginated). This classification is based on a suspected reduction in its population of approximately 30 percent over the previous two decades (Bauer et al. 2008, unpaginated). Because the regional lion population in western Africa is isolated and estimated to number well below the IUCN endangered criterion level of 2,500 individuals, it is classified by the IUCN as regionally endangered (Bauer and Nowell 2004, entire). In the assessment for this classification, western Africa is defined as consisting of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Gambia (identified as ``Regionally Extinct'' (RE)), Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia (RE), Mali, Mauritania (RE), Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone (RE), and Togo (Bauer and Nowell 2004, p. 35).

    Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

    The African lion is listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES (see http://www.cites.org) is an international agreement through which member countries work together to protect against over-

    exploitation of animal and plant species found in international trade. Parties regulate and monitor international trade in CITES-listed species--that is, their import, export, and reexport, and introduction from the sea--through a system of permits and certificates. CITES lists species in one of three appendices--Appendix I, II, or III. Species such as the African lion that are listed in Appendix II of CITES may be commercially traded, subject to several restrictions. CITES Appendix II includes species that are less vulnerable to extinction than species listed in Appendix I, and ``although not necessarily now threatened with extinction, may become so unless trade in specimens of such species is subject to strict regulation in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival.'' The status of the African lion with respect to CITES and how it is affected by international trade is discussed in more detail below, in the section titled Import/Export of Lion Parts and Products.

    Periodic Review Under CITES

    In an attempt to increase CITES protections for the African lion, in 2004, Kenya submitted a proposal for consideration at the Thirteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP13) to change the listing of the African lion from Appendix II of CITES to Appendix I (CoP13 Prop. 6; http://www.cites.org/eng/cop/13/prop/E13-P06.pdf). An Appendix-I listing includes species threatened with extinction whose trade is permitted only under exceptional circumstances, which generally precludes commercial trade. The import of specimens (both live and dead, as well as parts and products) of an Appendix-I species generally

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    requires the issuance of both an import and export permit under CITES. Import permits are issued only if findings are made that the import would be for purposes that are not detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild and that the specimen will not be used for primarily commercial purposes. For live specimens, a finding must also be made that the recipient must be suitably equipped to house and care for the specimens (CITES Article III(3)). Export permits are issued only if findings are made that the specimen was legally acquired and the export is not detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild, and that a living specimen will be so prepared and shipped as to minimize the risk of injury, damage to health, or cruel treatment. (CITES Article III(2)).

    Although Kenya had submitted its proposal to CoP13 for consideration, it withdrew its proposal due to the lack of regional consensus on the proposal. Furthermore, plans were under way at that time for convening a regional workshop on lion management in 2005, the results of which would be reported to the CITES Animals Committee (Animals Committee) (http://www.cites.org/eng/cop/13/rep/E13-ComIRep13.pdf).

    Recognizing that lion workshops and other research had been completed, producing updated information on the conservation and status of this species, the Animals Committee, at its 25th Meeting (AC25) (Geneva, Switzerland, July 2011), agreed to include the African lion in the Periodic Review of Felidae Decision 13.93 (Rev. CoP15) (http://www.cites.org/eng/dec/valid15/E15-Dec.pdf) under the Animals Committee periodic review of the appendices. Kenya and Namibia offered to lead the review as a high priority with range country consultation (http://www.cites.org/eng/com/ac/25/sum/E25-SumRec.pdf). At CoP16 in March 2013, the Parties adopted a revised Decision Decision 13.93 (Rev. CoP16); http://www.cites.org/common/cop/16/sum/E-CoP16-Plen-06.pdf; http://www.cites.org/eng/dec/valid16/13_93_CoP16.php, directing the Animals Committee to complete its Review of the Appendices for Felidae and to provide a report at CoP17 on the result of the review of all Felidae. Kenya and Namibia recently submitted a report of their work on the Periodic Review of the African lion for discussion at the 27th Meeting of the Animals Committee (AC27, Veracruz, Mexico, 28 April-3 May 2014) (CITES 2014a, entire). During discussion of this document at AC27, a representative of the IUCN informed the committee that the IUCN would be completing an updated Red List Assessment of the lion in 2015. In addition, she suggested potential nomenclature changes to lion subspecies (see Taxonomy). The Animals Committee took note of the upcoming Red List Assessment and requested Namibia and Kenya to incorporate this information into their Periodic Review and prepare a revised document for consideration at the 28th Meeting of the Animals Committee. Further, the Animals Committee made plans to continue seeking information from lion range states that had not yet responded to requests for information on the species. Finally, the Animals Committee took note of the recent information concerning changes in the nomenclature of lion subspecies and requested that the nomenclature expert of the Animals Committee review the information (CITES 2014b, p. 3).

    Regions in Which African Lions Occur

    The literature on African lion often includes reference to the following broad geographic regions: northern, western, central, southern, and eastern Africa. The boundaries of these regions vary somewhat among authors, based on the nature and result of the studies undertaken.

    As reflected in the literature reviewed for this proposed rule, the lion conservation community generally works in the context of the regions of Africa as they are described in Table 1. The regions as described in Table 1 may vary somewhat from the descriptions of the regions that may be found in taxonomic and other research literature.

    Table 1--Descriptions of the Different Regions of Africa as Generally

    Used by the Conservation Community

    Information derived from Chardonnet 2012, IUCN 2006a and IUCN 2006b

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    Regions Countries

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    North of Saharan Desert:

    North Africa \1\................... Algeria \1\, Egypt \1\, Libya

    \1\, Morocco \1\, Tunisia.\1\

    Sub-Saharan Africa:

    Western Africa..................... Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote

    d'Ivoire \3\, Gambia \1\,

    Ghana \3\, Guinea, Guinea-

    Bissau \3\, Mali \3\,

    Mauritania \1\, Niger,

    Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone

    \1\, Togo.\2\ \3\

    Central Africa..................... Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Congo,

    DRC, Gabon, Sudan/South Sudan.

    Eastern Africa..................... Burundi \2\, Djibouti \1\,

    Eritrea \1\, Ethiopia, Kenya,

    Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan/South

    Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda.

    Southern Africa.................... Angola, Botswana, Lesotho \1\,

    Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia,

    South Africa, Swaziland,

    Zambia, Zimbabwe.

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    \1\ Lions extirpated.

    \2\ Lions considered occasional or transient by Chardonnet 2002.

    \3\ Lions considered absent by Henschel et al. 2014.

    Species Description

    The lion is the second-largest extant cat species (second in size only to the tiger) and the largest carnivore in Africa. It has a broad geographical range, historically distributed throughout Africa (Ray et al. 2005, p. 67). As with other widely distributed large cats, there is considerable morphological variation within the species as a result of sexual selection, regional environmental adaptations, and gene flow (Mazak 2010, p. 194). These include, among others, variation in size, coat color and thickness, mane color and form, and skull characteristics (Mazak 2010, p. 194, citing several sources; Hollister 1917, in Dubach 2005, p. 15). They are described by CITES (2014, p. 3) as follows:

    Characteristics include sharp, retractile claws, a short neck, a broad face with prominent whiskers, rounded ears and a muscular body. Lions are typically a tawny color with black on the backs of the ears and white on the abdomen and inner legs. Males usually have a mane around the head, neck and chest. Lions are sexually dimorphic, with males weighing about 20-27 percent more than females. Adult males, on average, weigh about 188 kg with the heaviest male

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    on record weighing 272 kg. Females are smaller, weighing, on average, 126 kg. The male body length, not including the tail, ranges from 1.7 m to 2.5 m with a tail from 0.9 m to 1 m (Nowell & Jackson, 1996).

    Taxonomy

    The lion (Panthera leo) was first described by Linnaeus (1758, in Haas et al. 2005, p. 1), who gave it the name Felis leo. It was later placed in the genus Panthera (Pocock 1930, in Haas et al. 2005, p. 1). Although the classification of the modern lion as Panthera leo is accepted within the scientific community, there is a lack of consensus regarding lion intraspecific taxonomy (Mazak 2010, p. 194; Barnett et. al. 2006b, p. 2,120).

    Based on morphology, traditional classifications recognize anywhere from zero subspecies (classifying lions as one monotypic species) up to nine subspecies (Mazak 2010, p. 194, citing several sources). The most widely referenced of the morphology-based taxonomies is an eight-

    subspecies (six extant) classification provided by Hemmer (1974, in Nowell and Jackson 1996, p. 312; Barnett et al. 2006a, p. 507; Barnett et al. 2006b, p. 2,120), which is recognized by the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) (ITIS 2013, www.itis.gov, accessed June 6, 2013). It divides the lion species into: Panthera leo persica (India); P. l. leo, commonly referred to as the Barbary lion (Morocco through Tunisia, extinct); P. l. senegalensis (West Africa east to the Central African Republic); P. l. azandica (northern Zaire); P. l. bleyenberghi (southern Zaire and presumably neighboring areas of Zambia and Angola); P. l. nubica (East Africa); P. l. krugeri (Kalahari region east to the Transvaal and Natal regions of South Africa), and P. l. melanochaita, also called the Cape lion (Cape region of South Africa, extinct) (Nowell and Jackson 1996, p. 312).

    In 1987, O'Brien (1987a, entire; 1987b, entire) reported the first results of genetic studies conducted on lion samples from some, but not all, regions of the species' range using early genetic techniques. Results indicated that lions in India differed from lions in Africa, supporting a two-subspecies classification for extant lions: P. leo leo and P. leo persica, the African and Asian lion, respectively (Ellerman et al. 1953, Meester and Setzer 1971, O'Brien et al. 1987, in Dubach 2005, p. 16). According to Dubach (2005, p. 16), most taxonomic authorities recognize this two-subspecies taxonomy. This taxonomy is also recognized by the IUCN (Bauer et al. 2012, unpaginated) and, consequently, by several international organizations and governing bodies. As a result, this is the classification on which the conservation of the species is largely based. However, results of recent genetic research call into question this classification.

    In recent years, several genetic studies have provided evidence of an evolutionary division within lions in Africa (see Barnett et al. 2014, p. 6; Dubach et al. 2013, p. 746; Bertola et al. 2011 (entire); Antunes et al. 2008 (entire); Barnett et al. 2006a, pp. 511-512). These studies include analysis of DNA samples from all major regions of the species' range, though some regions are represented by few samples. Results of analysis indicate that a major genetic subdivision among lions occurs in Africa, with lions in southern and eastern Africa being genetically distinct from and more genetically diverse than lions elsewhere (western and central western and central Africa and Asia). Evidence indicates that lions in western and central Africa (as well as now-extinct north African lions) are more closely related to lions in India than to lions in southern and eastern Africa (Barnett et al. 2014, pp. 4-8; Dubach et al. 2013, pp. 741, 746-747, 750-751; Bertola et al. 2011, entire). According to Dubach et al. (2013, p. 753) contemporary range collapse and fragmentation is too recent a phenomenon to explain the lower genetic variability in these regions. Rather, the low genetic diversity in and between western and central African lion populations suggests they have a shorter evolutionary history than the more genetically diverse lions in southern and eastern Africa (Bertola et al. 2011, p. 1362). Several authors argue that the origin of these genetically distinct groups may be the result of regional extinctions and recolonizations during major climate (and consequently biome) fluctuations during the Pleistocene Epoch (Barnett et al. 2014, pp. 5-8; Bertola et al. 2011, pp. 1,362-1,364).

    These genetic studies on lion are based primarily on analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is inherited only from the mother. Because lions display sex-biased dispersal, in which males leave their natal range and females tend to remain in their natal range, one would expect gene flow in females to be lower than in males, resulting in greater geographic differentiation in females (Mazak 2010, p. 204). Consequently, some authors state that results of mtDNA analyses should be backed up by studies on nuclear DNA (nDNA, inherited from both parents) and morphological traits before assigning taxonomic importance to them (Barnett et al. 2014, pp. 1, 8). Recently, Mazak (2010, entire) examined morphological characteristics of 255 skulls of wild lions and found considerable variation throughout the species' range, with variation being greater within populations than between them. However, according to Dubach et al. (2013, p. 742), the genetic distinction of lions in southern and eastern Africa from those elsewhere in the species' range is confirmed by results of studies by Antunes et al. (2008, entire) which, in addition to analysis of mtDNA, also included analysis of nDNA sequence and microsatellite variation.

    The recent results of genetic research have renewed debate on lion taxonomy among the experts. For this reason, the IUCN Species Survival Commission Cat Specialist Group has commissioned a Cat Classification Task Force from among its expert members to determine a consensus taxonomy for the group. Until then, we conclude that the taxonomy of the species is currently unresolved. However, as required by the Act, we base this status review on the best available scientific and commercial information, which is the most recent taxonomy that is the most widely recognized by taxonomic experts: P. leo leo (Africa) and P. leo persica (India). Consequently, in this document we review the status of the petitioned entity, the African lion, P. leo leo.

    Range

    Historically, lions occupied most of the African continent except the West African coastal rainforest zone, the Congo Basin rainforest zone, and the inner Sahara Desert (Bauer 2003, in Ray et al. 2005, p. 67; IUCN 2006a, p. 10; IUCN 2006b, p. 10). Ray et al. (2005, p. 52) estimate lion historical range in Africa (at about 150 years prior to their study) to be roughly 22.2 million square kilometers (km\2\), while IUCN (2006a, p. 12; 2006b, p. 13) estimates lion historical range in sub-Saharan Africa to be 19.3 million km\2\ (Table 2). Depending on the study and methods used, the species' range is reported to currently cover between 3.0 million and 5.0 million km\2\ (Table 2). The most recent range-wide study was based on a review of all of the most current available estimates of lion populations (up through 2012) (Riggio et al, p. 21), combined with satellite imagery of savannah habitat, and provided estimates of current lion range to be 3.4 million km\2\ (Riggio et al. 2013, p. 26), or about 25 percent of the subspecies' historic range in savannah habitat. According to Chardonnet (2002, pp. 24-25), about half the range of the African lion falls within protected areas.

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    The African lion is now believed to be extirpated from between 75 and 83 percent of its former range (Table 2). The subspecies has been extirpated from all of its former range in northern Africa (Black et al. 2013, p. 1). In addition, according to IUCN (2006a,b; see Table 2), the species' range has declined by an estimated 91 percent in western Africa, 79 percent in central Africa, and 68 percent in eastern/

    southern Africa (Table 2), with lion occurrence unknown in an additional 38 percent of the historical range (Bauer et al 2008, p. 16). More recently, Henschel et al. (2014, p. 5) estimate the confirmed lion range in western Africa, based on data collected between 2006 and 2012, to be 49,000 km\2\, or an estimated 1.1 percent of the species' former range in the region.

    Table 2--Estimates of the African Lion Range

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    Current range as percent of

    Historic Current range historic range (percent of

    Source Region of Africa range (km\2\) (km\2\) historic range w/unknown

    lion presence)

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ray et al. 2005:............... Continent-wide... 22,200,000 3,800,000 17 percent.

    Chardonnet 2002:............... Western.......... .............. 121,980 ............................

    Central.......... .............. 651,970 ............................

    Eastern.......... .............. 1,137,205 ............................

    Southern......... .............. 1,039,212 ............................

    --------------------------------

    Total............ .............. 2,950,367 ............................

    IUCN 2006a, b: \1\............. Western.......... 3,814,576 331,749 9 percent.

    Central.......... 3,392,241 715,482 21 percent.

    Western + Central 7,206,817 1,047,231 15 percent.

    Southern + 12,080,000 3,915,000 32 percent.

    Eastern.

    --------------------------------

    Total............ 19,286,817 4,962,231 26 percent.

    Bauer et al. 2008: \1 2\....... Western + Central 7,206,817 1,047,231 15 percent.

    (0 percent).

    Southern + 13,010,000 3,564,000 23 percent.

    Eastern. (58 percent).

    --------------------------------

    Total............ 20,216,817 4,611,231 22 percent.

    (38 percent).

    Riggio 2013 \3\ (based on Western.......... .............. 133,784 ............................

    estimates of savannah Central.......... 936,465

    habitat):.

    Eastern.......... .............. 780,401 ............................

    Southern......... .............. 1,540,171 ............................

    Total............ 13,500,000 3,390,821 25 percent.

    --------------------------------

    Henschel et al. 2014:.......... Western.......... .............. 49,000 1 percent.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The historical range of the African lion included most current continental African countries (Chardonnet 2002, pp. 25-28). Currently, the subspecies occurs only in sub-Saharan Africa. Within this region, Chardonnet (2002, p. 27) described lions as present in 34 range states (35 with South Sudan, which gained its independence as a country in July 2011) and recently extirpated from 6 range countries (Chardonnet 2002, p. 27) (Table 1). The 34 sub-Saharan African range countries in which Chardonnet considered lions present included 10 in western Africa. More recently, during surveys of 21 large protected areas in western Africa, Henschel et al. (2014, p. 4) considered lions to be absent from protected areas in 5 of these 10 countries (Table 1).

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    \1\ Current range includes occasional and probable range.

    \2\ Bauer et al (2008) provides a synthesis of the efforts from which the IUCN (2006a, b) estimates were generated, providing somewhat different numbers for southern and eastern Africa. Also, current range is range where lion occurrence is known, and in approximately 38 percent of historical range, the occurrence of lion is unknown.

    \3\ Riggio et al. (2013) calculate estimates for savannah habitat, defined as areas that receive between 300 and 1,500 mm of rain annually and which includes most of sub-Saharan Africa.

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    Distribution and Abundance

    The general distribution of lions in Africa is summarized by Ray et al. (2005, p. 67) as follows:

    Lions formerly occupied most of the African continent except for equatorial forest and the inner-Sahara. Today, they are extinct in North Africa and have undergone dramatic range retraction at the limits of their historical distribution. Currently, lions are restricted mainly to protected areas and surrounding conservancies or `game management areas,' with the largest populations in East and southern Africa. Where protection is poor, particularly outside protected areas, range loss or population decreases can be significant. Declines have been most severe in West and Central Africa, with only small, isolated populations scattered chiefly through the Sahel. Lions in the region are declining in some protected areas and, with the exception of southern Chad and northern Central African Republic, are virtually absent from unprotected areas (Bauer 2003).

    Estimates of lion abundance on a large geographical scale are few in number. For a variety of reasons--including low densities, large ranges, cryptic coloration, nocturnal and wary habits--lions are difficult to count (Bauer et al. 2005, p. 6; Riggio et al. 2013, p. 31). There are large areas of the species' range in which no data are available on lion occurrence or abundance (IUCN 2006b, pp. 12-13). Species experts recognize that estimating the size of the African lion population is an ambitious task, involving many uncertainties (IUCN 2012, p. 2). Estimates, particularly range-wide or broad region-wide estimates, tend to rely to a considerable extent on expert opinion or inference (Riggio et al. 2013, p. 21; Chardonnet 2002, p. 19). Consequently, there is a large degree of uncertainty in these estimates. In addition, to date all efforts to estimate the size of the African

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    lion population have used different methods; the results of earlier estimates cannot be directly compared to those of later estimates to determine population trend. The earliest estimates of lion abundance in Africa were educated guesses made during the latter half of the 20th Century. Bauer et al. (2008, unpaginated) summarize the information as follows:

    There have been few efforts in the past to estimate the number of lions in Africa. Myers (1975) wrote, ``Since 1950, their lion numbers may well have been cut in half, perhaps to as low as 200,000 in all or even less.'' Later, Myers (1986) wrote, ``In light of evidence from all the main countries of its range, the lion has been undergoing decline in both range and numbers, often an accelerating decline, during the past two decades''. In the early 1990s, IUCN SSC Cat Specialist Group members made educated ``guesstimates'' of 30,000 to 100,000 for the African Lion population (Nowell and Jackson 1996).

    Ferreras and Cousins (1996, entire) provided the first quantitatively derived estimate using a GIS-based model calibrated with information obtained from lion experts. Ferreras and Cousins predicted African lion abundance in 1980 to be 75,800. Later, four additional efforts--Chardonnet (2002), Bauer and Van Der Merwe (2004), IUCN (2006a, 2006b), and Riggio et al. 2013--estimated lion population sizes ranging from 23,000 to 40,000 (Table 3). Currently, about 90 percent of all African lions occur in southern and eastern Africa (Table 3). According to most studies, most African lions are in eastern Africa (Table 3). According to Riggio et al. (2013, p. 27), only nine countries contain resident populations of at least 1,000 free-ranging lions (Central African Republic, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana, and possibly Angola). Approximately 40 percent of all lions are found in Tanzania (Riggio et al. 2013, p. 27). Only about 10 percent of all lions occur in western and central Africa (Table 3). According to the most recent survey effort, numbers in western Africa are extremely low. Henschel et al. (2014, p. 5) estimate that only 400 lions in the entire region, with most (about 350, or 88 percent) concentrated in a single population.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ Estimates were made for individual Lion Conservation Units (defined management units), and were given as population size classes rather than specific figures. As calculated by Riggio et al. (2013, p. 27).

    Table 3--Estimates of African Lion Abundance

    Rows may not tally due to rounding

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Western Africa Central Africa Eastern Africa Southern Africa

    Source (percent of total) (percent of total) (percent of total) (percent of total) Total

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ferreras & Cousins 1996 (estimate ...................... ...................... ..................... ..................... 75,800 (18,600 in

    for lion abundance in 1980). protected areas).

    Chardonnet 2002.................... 1,163 (3 percent)..... 2,815 (7 percent)..... 15,744 (40 percent).. 19,651 (50 percent).. 39,373.

    Bauer & Van Der Merwe 2004......... 850 (4 percent)....... 950 (4 percent)....... 11,000 (48 percent).. 10,000 (44 percent).. 23,000.

    IUCN 2006 \4\ (as calculated by 1,640 (5 percent)..... 2,410 (7 percent)..... 17,290 (52 percent).. 11,820 (37 percent).. 33,160.

    Riggio et al. 2013).

    Riggio 2013 (based on estimates of 480 (1 percent)....... 2,419 (7 percent)..... 19,972 (57 percent).. 12,036 (34 percent).. 34,907.

    savannah habitat).

    Henschel et al. 2014............... 406 (n/a).............

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In 2005-2006, in response to a growing concern that the African lion was in decline, IUCN and the Wildlife Conservation Society sponsored workshops to determine a lion conservation strategy. During these workshops, lion experts collectively assessed what they believed to be the then-current status of African lions based on a variety of information, including professional opinion. During the workshops, lion experts identified 86 African lion Conservation Units (LCUs). They defined LCUs as areas of known, occasional, or possible lion range that can be considered an ecological unit of importance for lion conservation (IUCN 2006a, p. 14; IUCN 2006b, p. 17). Of the 86 LCUs, 20 are in western and central Africa and 66 are in southern and eastern Africa (Table 4). Most (71 percent) have more than half their area under some form of legal protection (Bauer et al. 2008, p. 19). Few (16 percent) were estimated to contain large populations (Table 4). This was particularly the case for western and central Africa, where most (13, or 65 percent) of LCUs were estimated to contain fewer than 50 lions (Table 4). The majority of those with large populations were in southern and eastern Africa (Table 4). Only 23 of 86 LCUs (27 percent) were considered to contain viable populations, though more than half were thought to contain potentially viable populations (Table 4). Lion populations within 42 percent of the 86 LCUs were considered to be decreasing, whereas those in 9 percent were considered increasing. The remaining were considered stable or of unknown trend (Table 4).

    Table 4--Lion Conservation Units (LCUs) as Identified and Characterized in IUCN 2006a and IUCN 2006b

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Eastern &

    Number of LCUs Western & Southern All regions (percent)

    Central Africa Africa

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Total................................... 20 66 86.

    Estimated to contain:

    >500 lions.......................... 2 12 14 (16 percent).

    50-500 lions........................ 5 28 33 (38 percent).

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    =500 lions............................. 0 1 7 7 15 (22 percent).

    250-499 lions........................... 1 2 1 2 6 (9 percent).

    50-249 lions............................ 0 2 12 6 20 (30 percent).

    Minimum trophy quality, sizes, and standards;

    Wildlife hunting regulations enacted and enforced;

    Professional hunting associations formed;

    Professional hunting training courses;

    Professional hunter standards established;

    Quota-setting procedures;

    Compliance with CITES demonstrated;

    Monitoring; and

    Information and data collection and analysis.

    While the supposition of increased infanticide due to the remove of established males from a pride is inconclusive and not well supported, it is clear that improved management practices are beneficial to maintaining viable lion populations. Developing and implementing best management practices, while not categorically establishing a direct correlation with increased population numbers and health, do appear to have practical impacts on lion populations. Based on the best available scientific and commercial information, infanticide, as a result of the removal of lions through hunting, is not a threat to African lions. Further, it is not likely to become a threat in the foreseeable future since the science is not well supported as to whether infanticide resulting from offtake due to trophy hunting is a significant threat to the subspecies (Whitman et al. 2004, pp. 175-176; CITES 2014a, p. 14).

    Corruption

    Corruption is common in some areas within the range of the African lion, particularly in areas with extreme poverty (Michler 2013, pp. 1-

    3; Kimati 2012, p. 1; Garnett et al. 2011, p. 1; IUCN 2009, p. 89; Leader-Williams et al. 2009, p. 296-298; Kideghesho 2008, pp. 16-17; http://www.transparency.org). Several of the range countries of African lion have experienced political instability for many years, which appears to be a contributing factor in intensifying levels of corruption. Political instability results in war and famine, which essentially halt conservation efforts and the enforcement of existing wildlife protection laws (Barnett & Patterson 2005, p. 82). Corruption manifests itself in several ways, including embezzlement of funds and acceptance of bribes to overlook illegal activities or for political influence (Garnett et al. 2011, p. 1). Given the financial aspects of sport hunting, it is reasonable to assume that corruption and the inability to control it could have a negative impact on decisions made in lion management by overriding biological rationales with financial concerns.

    Corruption has complex roots and will not end immediately, but from all appearances, it is being addressed in many of the African lion range countries where it has occurred in the past. Countries throughout the range of the African lion are putting tools in place to combat corruption and create awareness (http://www.transparency.org/cpi2012/results, accessed June 20, 2013). In recent years, in several African lion range countries, leadership has taken steps to address corruption, or activities that facilitate corruption, associated with wildlife management. For example, in 2013, the Tourism Minister of Zambia banned hunting in 19 game management areas for 1 year due to corruption and malpractice among the hunting companies and various government departments. Some game management areas and privately owned game ranches were not included in the ban, but lion hunting appears to be currently prohibited throughout the country (Michler 2013, pp. 1-3). According to some authors (Martin 2012, pp. 4, 104; Kimati 2012, p. 1; Kideghesho 2008, pp. 16-17), corruption in the wildlife sector has often been one of the most discussed topics in Tanzania's National Assembly, which presumably would indicate the awareness of and willingness to address the corrupting factors in the wildlife sector.

    Provided that countries continue to address corruption within the wildlife sector, we conclude, based on the best scientific and commercial information available, that corruption, in and of itself, does not currently pose a threat to the species. However, if efforts to address corruption do not continue, it could become a threat to African lions in the future.

    Revenue From Trophy Hunting

    The high value of lions makes them one of the most expensive large game species to hunt. The revenue derived from lion hunting is substantial. Lions are reported to generate the highest daily rate of any mammal hunted (USD $2,650 per day), the longest number of days that must be booked, and the highest trophy fee ($24,500) (Jackson 2013, p. 6; Lindsey et al. 2012a, p. 5). According to Groom (2013, p. 4), a 21-

    day lion hunt in Zimbabwe may be sold for approximately $2,500 per day, with an additional trophy fee of $10,000. Depending on the country in which a hunter visits, there may be several different fees required, including game fees, observer fees, conservation fees, permit fees, trophy handling fees, and government payments in terms of taxes, as well as safari operator fees (Barnett & Patterson 2005, p. 71). In the late 1990's, Tanzania reported annual revenue of $29.9 million from all trophy hunting, South Africa reported $28.4 million, Zimbabwe reported $23.9 million from all trophy hunting, Botswana reported $12.6 million, and Namibia reported $11.5 million; the revenue generated solely from lion hunting was not broken out (Barnett & Patterson 2005, p. iv). In the past, government and private land owners were the primary beneficiaries of the revenue gained; however, a portion of the revenue derived from hunting, in some countries, is now being distributed to local communities as well, which benefits the livelihoods of local people as well as contributes to

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    national economies of African range states (Barnett & Patterson 2005, p. vi).

    Trophy Hunting as a Wildlife Management Tool

    The concept of using trophy hunting to support lion conservation is complex and counterintuitive to many. Many range countries rely heavily on tourism (predominantly ecotourism and safari hunting) to provide funding for wildlife management (IUCN 2006a, p. 24). The countries that rely most on lion hunting are proportionally the highest in Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia (Lindsey et al. 2012a, pp. 7-8). The revenue generated from these industries provides jobs for locals, such as game guards, cooks, drivers, and security personnel, and often brings in revenue for local microbusinesses that sell art, jewelry, and other native crafts. Revenue generated from scientifically based management program is used to build and maintain fences, provide security personnel with weapons and vehicles, provide resources for anti-

    poaching activities, and provides resources for habitat acquisition and management (Chardonnet et al. 2010, pp. 33-34; Newmark 2008, p. 321). Revenue from trophy hunting increases the ability of many African countries to manage wildlife populations both within and adjacent to reserves; many of these hunting areas are geographically linked to national parks and reserves, providing wildlife corridors and buffer zones (Chardonnet et al. 2010, p. 34; Newmark 2008, p. 321).

    Proponents and most species experts support trophy hunting as a conservation tool for the African lion (Hunter 2011, entire; van der Merwe 2013, entire; Hunter et al. 2013, entire) because it provides: (1) Incentives for the conservation of large tracts of prime habitat, and (2) funding for park and reserve management, anti-poaching, and security activities. As habitat loss has been identified as one of the primary threats to lion populations, it is notable that the total amount of land set aside for hunting throughout Africa, although not ameliorating the concerns about habitat loss, exceeds the total area of the national parks, accounting for approximately half of the amount of viable habitat currently available to lions (Chardonnet et al. 2010, p. 34; Packer et al. 2006, pp. 9-10). In Tanzania, 25-33 percent of the total area, encompassing 190 hunting units and over 247,000 km\2\, has been set aside for sport hunting purposes; this has resulted in an area 5.1 times greater than Tanzania's fully protected and gazetted parks (Jackson 2013, p. 6; Barnett & Patterson 2005, p. 61).

    In Botswana, despite the current ban on lion hunting, the country currently has over 128,000 km\2\ of gazetted wildlife management areas and controlled hunting areas set aside for hunting purposes, which equates to 22.1 percent of the country's total area. This is in addition to 111,000 km\2\ (or 19.1 percent) that has been set aside as habitat in the form of National Parks, Game Reserves, and Forest Reserves (Barnett & Patterson 2005, p. 7). Tanzania has land set aside for sport hunting in the form of safari areas, communal land, and privately owned properties that make up 23.9 percent of the total land base (Barnett & Patterson 2005, pp. 76-77). In 2000, five countries in southern Africa (Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe) had set aside a combined 420,000 km\2\ of communal land, 188,000 km\2\ of commercial land, and 420,089 km\2\ of state land totaling over 1,028,000 km\2\ for sport hunting purposes (Barnett & Patterson 2005, p. iii). As a species with a considerable range (up to 1,000 km\2\) (Packer et al. 2013 p. 636; Haas et al. 2005, p. 4), suitable habitat is important to the survival of the species, and the marked decline in suitable habitat is a significant threat to the species (see Habitat Loss). The land currently designated for use in sport hunting has helped to reduce, but not eliminate, the impact of habitat loss for the African lion.

    Cost estimates for maintaining lion populations range, from an annual budget of $500 per km\2\ in smaller fenced reserves to $2,000 per km\2\ annually for unfenced populations (Packer et al. 2013, p. 640; Lindsey et al. 2012a, p. 9). This includes but is not limited to costs associated with permanent and temporary staff, fencing installation and maintenance (fences can cost $3,000 per km to install), infrastructure maintenance, anti-poaching activities such as surveillance and snare/trap removal, wildlife restocking fees (both for lions killed by illegal poaching/snares as well as other trophy species killed by lions on the reserves), community outreach, and compensation for loss of livestock in surrounding communities (Packer et al. 2013, p. 640; Groom 2013, pp. 4-5; Lindsey et al. 2012a, p. 9; Barnett & Patterson 2005, p. 82). For example, in the past, the Saveacute Valley Conservancy in Zimbabwe invested $546,000 annually on anti-

    poaching activities and employed 186 permanent scouts, while operators in Coutada 16, Mozambique, spent $60,000 annually on anti-poaching (such as the removal of 5,000 gin traps) (Groom 2013, p. 5; Lindsey et al. 2012a, p. 9). According to Barnett and Patterson (2005, p. 82), in Zimbabwe:

    Land invasions, resettlement and political instability has had dire consequences for wildlife occurring in the commercial sector. Land invasions have affected all wildlife management activities, and resulted in severe habitat destruction, increased poaching and infrastructure damage with thousands of kilometers of fences being destroyed to make wire snares . . . A typical questionnaire response from an invaded 50,000 acre farm in Masvingo Province . . . indicates substantial poaching losses of up to $1,819,040, with over 3,400 snares recovered and 134 poachers arrested in just two months.

    Niassa National Reserve, Mozambique, incurs annual costs of approximately $1.9-2 million to maintain a 42,000-km\2\ area (Lindsey et al. 2012a, p. 9). As a single source of revenue, the trophy hunting of lions provides a substantial source of funds to pay for the management of lion habitat. According to Lindsey et al. (2012a, p. 5), with the exception of rhinoceros and exceptional elephant trophies, ``lions generate the highest revenue per hunt of any species in Africa.'' In Niassa National Reserve, lion trophy hunting has generated $380,000-400,000 annually (Lindsey et al. 2012a, p. 9). In the Saveacute Valley Conservancy, between 2005 and 2011, lion hunting in Zimbabwe provided an estimated net income (based on 26 lions) of approximately $1,365,000 in per-night charges and roughly $260,000 in trophy fees (Groom 2013, p. 4).

    Trophy hunting of lions, if part of a scientifically based management program, can provide direct benefits to the species and its habitat, both at the national and local level (See: Role of Local Communities in Lion Conservation). Trophy hunting and the revenue generated from trophy hunting are tools that range countries can use to facilitate maintaining habitat to sustain large ungulates and other lion prey, protecting habitat for lions, supporting the management of lion habitat, and protecting both lions and their prey base through anti-poaching efforts. While hunting alone will not address all of the issues that are contributing to the declined status of the species, it can provide benefits to the species.

    Role of Local Communities in Lion Conservation

    Over the last few decades, conservationists and range countries have realized the integral role local communities play in the conservation of lions and their habitat; when communities benefit from a species,

    Page 64493

    they have incentive to protect it. Therefore, utilizing the wildlife sector as a land-use option and source of income for rural populations has increasingly been employed throughout the range countries of the African lion. Many of these countries are classified as `developing' nations; specifically, seven of the ten countries (we include Cameroon here) where trophy hunting is permitted have 27-64 percent of their populations living in severe poverty (United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) Human Development Report, http://hdr.undp.org/en/data, accessed July 7, 2014; Barnett & Patterson 2005, p. iii). These countries often have high population growth, high unemployment, limited industry, and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita lower than the poverty level (Barnett & Patterson 2005, p. iii). These combined challenges highlight the need for innovative solutions. Conservationists and range countries recognize the value of the wildlife sector; if managed sustainably, there is high potential to contribute to rural economic development while simultaneously protecting the unique ecological habitats and species contained therein (Chardonnet et al. 2010, p. 33; Kiss editor 1990, pp. 1, 5-15).

    Studies have indicated that, in order for species such as the African lion to persist, the local communities must benefit from or receive a percentage of funds generated from tourism such as wildlife viewing, photography, or trophy hunting (White 2013, p. 21; Martin 2012, p. 57; Kiss editor 1990, pp. 1, 5-15). The economic value of a species, such as lion, can encourage range countries to develop management and conservation programs that involve local communities which would ultimately discourage indiscriminate killings by local communities (Groom 2013, pp. 3, 5; Hazzah et al. 2013, p. 1; White 2013, p. 21; Martin 2012, p. 49). If local communities see no beneficial value of lions being present in their communal areas, sustainable utilization of lions as a land-use becomes less competitive with other land-use options, such as grazing and livestock management, and local communities become unwilling and unable to manage their wildlife heritage (Barnett & Patterson 2005, p. iii). When the value of lions in areas outside of national parks is diminished, those areas are likely to be converted to forms of land use less suitable for lions, such as agriculture, livestock pastures, or areas of resource extraction, making them even more vulnerable to expanding human settlement (Van der Merwe 2013, p. 2).

    Community conservancies that benefit from trophy hunting have specifically been formed as a way to protect wildlife and habitat. As an example, in Namibia, 160,000 km\2\ (61,776 mi\2\) of community conservancies were established in part due to revenue from trophy hunting. These conservancies benefit the local communities, which in turn protect lion habitat. For example, in 2012, the Saveacute Valley Conservancy (Zimbabwe) ``provided over US$100,000 worth of support to adjacent villages or farmers in the resettled areas. Assistance included drilling boreholes, maintaining boreholes, dredging of dams, building clinics and schools, assisting with repairs, maintenance and materials for schools, education initiatives, school field trips, provision of computer equipment in schools, and craft programs'' (Groom 2013, p. 5) Connecting conservation to community benefits can provide a value for wildlife, including lions, where there was previously resentment or indifference, helping to instill a sense of importance for lion conservation Additionally, an estimated 125,000 kg of game meat is provided annually to rural communities by trophy hunters at an estimated value of $250,000 per year, which is considerable for rural locations where severe poverty and malnutrition exists (White 2013, p. 21), further providing a value for wildlife, including lions. Lastly, local communities benefit from the trophy hunting industry by gaining employment as cooks, drivers, game guards, security, and anti-poaching personnel, and they also obtain revenue for items purchased by trophy hunters such as jewelry, art, and native handicrafts.

    Trophy hunting as part of a scientifically based management program may provide direct economic benefits to the local communities and can create incentives for local communities to conserve lions, reduce the pressure on lion habitat, and end retaliatory killing, primarily because lions are viewed as having value. Conversely, lack of incentives could cause declines in lion populations because lions are viewed as lacking value and are perceived to kill livestock, which do have value to communities (see Human-lion Conflict).

    Many range countries have realized local communities must benefit from the conservation of the species because why? and have revised their land management and ownership policies to reflect this. Of the ten countries where lion trophy hunting currently occurs (including Cameroon), seven have developed National Poverty Reduction Strategies in partnership with the International Monetary Fund (for a complete list, see http://www.imf.org/external/np/prsp/prsp.aspx); each of these has incorporated sustainable natural resource development as a main priority, and emphasized benefit distribution and management to rural communities (Benin 2000, unpaginated; Burkina Faso 2000, unpaginated; unpaginated; CAR 2000, p. 45; Mozambique 2000, unpaginated; Tanzania 2000, pp. 13, 21; Zambia 2000, unpaginated). As a result, an increase in participation by local communities in managing natural resources that are adjacent to reserves is occurring in several areas.

    Captive Lions

    In analyzing threats to a species, the Service focuses its analysis on threats acting upon wild specimens within the native range of the species, because the goal of the Act is survival and recovery of the species within its native ecosystem. We do not separately analyze ``threats'' to captive-held specimens because the statutory five factors under section 4 (16 U.S.C. 1533) are not well-suited to consideration of specimens in captivity and captive-held specimens are not eligible for separate consideration for listing. However, we do consider the extent to which specimens held in captivity create, contribute to, reduce, or remove threats to the species.

    Captive-held African lions, including those that are managed for trophy hunting in South Africa and lions held in captivity in zoos, are believed to number between a few thousand and 5,000 worldwide (Republic of South Africa 2013, p. 5; Barnett et al. 2006a, p. 513). Captive lions in general are not suitable for reintroduction due to their uncertain origins (Barnett et al. 2006a, p. 513; Hunter et al. 2012, p. 3), potential maladaptive behaviors, and higher failure risk compared to translocated individuals (Hunter et al. 2012, pp. 2-3). There may be cases where captive specimens provide a benefit to the species under certain circumstances. For example, the display of Giant pandas in U.S. zoos has generated considerable revenue that is used for in-situ conservation of the species in China. It may be possible that captive lions could also serve a purpose of generating revenue for in-situ conservation.

    Summary of Trophy Hunting

    Although there is some indication that trophy hunting could contribute to

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    local declines in lion populations through unsustainable quotas, corruption, and possible disruption of pride structure through infanticide and take of males that are too young, we do not find that any of these activities rises to the level of a threat to the African lion subspecies at this time. It appears that most range countries that allow trophy hunting of African lions restrict offtake to approximately 2-4 percent of their lion populations for trophy hunting annually, excluding South Africa, where offtake is from predominantly captive-

    born animals, and Zimbabwe, where offtake is 2-3 percent higher than in other countries (Packer et al. (2006, pp. 2-3). Exports of lion trophies have demonstrated a decreasing trend when exports of likely captive-born lions from South Africa are excluded (CITES lion gross exports, http://trade.cites.org, accessed April 23, 2014), and lions from South Africa are likely captive-born (RSA 2013, p. 5). Most of the range countries that allow trophy hunting have quotas in place to limit take. Tanzania, with a population of approximately 16,000 lions, has a quota of 50 animals per year. Many other range countries have laws in effect that address trophy hunting, and several have moratoriums in place. The hunting community is taking the lead in developing best management practices to address take of males that are under 6 years of age, and they are guiding the development of scientifically based tools for minimizing the impact of trophy hunting on the social structure of lion populations. This 6-year age restriction on lion trophies is in the process of being self-implemented by professional hunting guides, and is being adopted by certain range states, such as Tanzania (White 2013, p. 14; Whitman et al. 2004, p. 176).

    Currently, most countries that allow trophy hunting of lions appear to be reviewing their trophy hunting practices (Jackson 2013, pp. 2-3; White 2013, pp. 12-13). Range countries have recognized the need to incorporate best management practices, and have been progressively updating the policies and management systems in order to implement them (Lindsey et al. 2013a, pp. 4-10).

    Finally, we found that, if trophy hunting of lions is part of a scientifically based management program, it could provide considerable benefits to the species, by reducing or removing incentives by locals to kill lions in retaliation for livestock losses, and by reducing the conversion of lion habitat to agriculture. Trophy hunting, if managed well and with local communities in mind, can bring in needed revenue, jobs, and a much-needed protein source to local people, demonstrating the value of lions to local communities (Groom 2013, pp. 1-3; Lindsey et al. 2006, pp. 283, 289). In addition, the amount of habitat that has been set aside by range countries specifically for trophy hunting has greatly increased the range and habitat of lions and their prey base, which is imperative given the current ongoing rate of habitat destruction occurring in Africa. The total amount of land set aside for trophy hunting throughout Africa exceeds the total area of the national parks, providing half the amount of viable lion habitat (Chardonnet et al. 2010, p. 34; Packer et al. 2006, pp. 9-10). However, expanding protected areas without taking the human population into consideration could lead to more resentment and retaliatory killing of lions (Nelson et al. 2009, p. 315).

    Therefore, we conclude, based on the best scientific and commercial information available, that trophy hunting is not a significant threat to the species.

    Traditional Use of Lion Parts and Products

    CITES (2014, p. 8) reports that many African countries, including Somalia, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Kenya, and Cameroon, maintain local markets in lion products, which include teeth, claws, fat, whiskers, bone, bile, testicles, meat, and tails for use as talismans, decorations, and in traditional African medicine. In Ghana, lion parts and products are used for ceremonial, medicinal, and nutritional purposes (Burton et al. 2010, p. 4). Skins and claws of lions were observed for sale in a market in Tamale, Ghana. Lions in and around Mole National Park in Ghana have been killed for traditional consumptive purposes (Burton et al. 2010, p. 4). In some cases, lions (either alive or dead) have been ``laundered'' through other countries so that their country of origin is unknown. As an example, lions have been found to be shot in Zimbabwe and Mozambique and declared as South African trophies (Lion Aid 2011, p. 20). In other cases, there have been reports of captive-born lions being smuggled between Botswana and South Africa and described as wild (Mouton 2013, pp. 1-2). Lion products, such as the trade in lion bone, seem to be primarily byproducts of trophy hunting; hunters are primarily interested in the trophy and skin and, therefore, the bones and other parts are sold separately (CITES 2014a, p. 10). However, since the reports of these types of activities are primarily anecdotal in nature, based on the best available scientific and commercial information, we find that the sale of these byproducts does not currently pose a threat to the species. Further, without a significant shift in the market, it is not likely to become a threat in the foreseeable future.

    Conservation Measures in Place To Protect Lions

    There has been awareness for several years that conservation strategies need to be implemented for the African lion due to the apparent decrease in its population numbers (Hamunyela et al. 2013, p. 1; Henschel et al. 2010, p. 34; Gebresenbet et al. 2009, p. 5; IUCN 2006a, b, entire). Prior to 2006, institutional inconsistencies throughout the African lion's range resulted in poor lion conservation policies and little to no enforcement of existing laws (IUCN 2006b, p. 18). As mentioned, in 2005 and 2006, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and several governments at various levels organized two regional lion conservation workshops. Species specialists, wildlife managers, and government officials attended these regional workshops in order to provide range country governments with frameworks for developing their own national action plans for the conservation of lions. Over 50 lion specialists, representing all lion range countries, participated in these workshops (Henschel et al. 2010, p. 34). During the workshops lion experts collectively assessed what they believed to be the then-

    current status of African lions based on a variety of information, and subsequently identified 86 African LCUs. This information was then used as a framework to identify lion areas, strongholds, and potential strongholds by Riggio et al. (2013, p. 32).

    Many countries with very small lion populations have developed or updated their conservation plans for the African lion. Some of these include Benin, Cameroon, Uganda, and Malawi. Some range countries participate in transboundary conservation projects and are collaborating on transboundary lion conservation initiatives for shared lion populations. Most range countries have a national lion action plan or strategies in place, particularly if there are economic incentives for them to have viable lion populations (Groom 2013; Nghidinwa et al. 2013, pp. 11-12; Zambia Wildlife Authority 2012; Lion Aid 2011, pp. 1-

    2; Mesochina et al. 2010; Government of Tanzania 2010; Begg and Begg 2010). Range states have also implemented a number of conservation strategies designed to conserve habitat, reduce human-lion

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    conflict, and preserve the lion's prey-base.

    Conservation Measures To Stem Habitat Loss

    Habitat loss represents one of the main threats facing the African lion (Bauer et al. 2008, unpaginated). Attempts by range countries to address this decline in habitat are manifested in a number of ways, such as the creation of protected areas and the establishment of wildlife corridors to connect fragmented habitats.

    Two conservation tools utilized by range countries for African lions include the establishment of protected areas and the enforcement of protections in these areas (Mesochina et al. 2010a and b; Treves et al. 2009, pp. 60, 64). Over the past few decades, the effectiveness of protected areas in protecting habitat has been studied, particularly in Africa (Pfeifer et al. 2012, p. 1; Craigie et al. 2010, pp. 2,221-

    2,222). A study conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Society in 2005 found that most lion populations in protected areas of southern and eastern Africa have been essentially stable over the previous three decades (Ray et al. 2005, p. 67). However, several problems have emerged. For example, certain land-tenure systems do not recognize community ownership of land and wildlife and undermine the extent to which benefits are converted into incentives for conservation. Protected-area ``boundaries'' are not always visible. Additionally, law enforcement in protected areas can be sporadic, and parks are often understaffed (Pfeifer et al. 2012, pp. 1, 7). Lastly, despite the Wildlife Conservation Society's findings, more recent evidence suggests that some protected areas are being more commonly encroached upon as human populations expand and search for resources.

    Despite encroachment, protected areas are somewhat effective at protecting wildlife and habitat as rates of habitat loss tend to be lower in protected areas than outside them (Green et al. 2013, p. 70; Pfeifer et al. 2012, p. 2). African countries are realizing the benefits of managing their wildlife populations and parks for tourism; however, conservation of vast areas of land for megafauna such as the African lion is not only complex, but also expensive. As an example, the 28-km (17-mi) elephant corridor, completed in 2011 in Kenya, cost $1 million (The Nature Conservancy 2013, unpaginated). Additionally, the overall costs of anti-poaching and compensation is expected to increase in range states concurrently with growing human populations, declining purchasing power of external funds, and corruption (Garnett et al. 2011, pp. 1-2; Wittemyer et al. 2008, pp. 123, 125).

    Another mechanism for protecting habitat is to reconnect fragmented habitat across national boundaries. Corridors are being restored, fences are being removed, and protected areas are being connected. Restoration of these corridors allows wildlife to travel between areas of suitable habitat (Jones et al. 2012, pp. 469-470). In some areas, fences have been constructed to protect grazing resources for domestic livestock as well as to provide barriers to disease (Gadd 2012, pp. 153, 176). One aspect of these fences is that they separate lions from their prey. In southern Africa, the trend now is to take down fences to increase the size of connected habitat and link it to reserves and national parks (IUCN 2009, p. 101; IUCN 2008, various). The Limpopo Transfrontier Park is another example of where this is being implemented (Newmark 2008, p. 327). Boundary fences along national borders that separate many reserves are being removed to form a 35,000-

    km\2\ park. Limpopo National Park (formerly known as Coutada 16) in Mozambique; Kruger National Park in South Africa; Gonarezhou National Park, Manjinji Pan Sanctuary, and Malipati Safari Area in Zimbabwe will all be connected, as will be the area between Kruger and Gonarezhou, and the Sengwe communal land in Zimbabwe and the Makuleke region in South Africa (Newmark 2008, p. 327). However, in some locations, areas that have previously been designated as corridors have been encroached upon by human settlements and agriculture (Estes et al. 2012, pp. 258-

    261; Jones et al. 2012, p. 469).

    Tanzania is an example of a country attempting to reconnect habitat. As of 2002, the Tanzanian Government, with donor and NGO support, was reconnecting the nine largest blocks of forest in the East Usambara Mountains using wildlife corridors (Newmark 2002, various). Additionally, the 2009 Wildlife Act of Tanzania allows the Minister, in consultation with relevant local authorities, to designate wildlife corridors, dispersal areas, buffer zones, and migratory routes. The 2010-2015 National Elephant Management Plan of Tanzania indicates that corridors are the primary objective of the plan, and although primarily designed for elephants, these corridors allow for continuity of populations of other large mammal species such as lions (Jones et al. 2012, p. 470).

    In 2011, Kenya (which neighbors Tanzania to the North), completed a 28-km corridor through an area that had been heavily impacted by human-

    wildlife conflict. The purpose of the corridor was primarily to reduce human-elephant conflict and appears to have been successful (Mount Kenya Trust 2011, p. 1). The corridor also allows other wildlife such as lions to disperse through habitat that otherwise would have been unfavorable for wildlife to travel through (Mount Kenya Trust 2011, p. 1). It was an expensive project, but recent reports indicate that the effort has served its purpose: Elephants are using the corridor on a regular basis (particularly an underpass under a highway), and humans are reporting less human-wildlife conflict (Mount Kenya Trust 2011, p. 1).

    However, connectivity alone does not ensure the dispersal of animals (Roever et al. 2013, pp. 19-21). The Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) is a parastatal organization under Tanzania's Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, and is responsible for conducting and coordinating wildlife research activities in Tanzania (http://tawiri.or.tz/). In this role, TAWIRI has been actively involved in promoting the development of and monitoring the use of wildlife corridors in Tanzania (http://www.tzwildlifecorridors.org). Surveys conducted in 2009 and 2010 suggest that the Nyanganje Corridor in Tanzania is no longer being used by elephants and other wildlife. This corridor is at a narrow passage in the Kilombero Valley and is the shortest distance for animals to cross between the Udzungwa and Selous ecosystems. Despite efforts in place, much of the corridor is being encroached upon by conversion of land to rice farming and cattle grazing (Jones et al. 2012, p. 469). Because these activities often deter wildlife from passing through, the corridor is ineffective (Jones et al. 2012, p. 469). TAWIRI reminds wildlife managers that they need to continue to implement steps to ensure that corridors are functioning properly.

    Conservation Measures in Place To Stem the Loss of Prey Base

    Lions, like most large carnivores, prey upon a variety of species including buffalo, plains zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, gemsbok, kob, and warthog (Kenya Wildlife Service 2013, p. 13; Niassa National Reserve Technical Report 2011, p. 4; Nowell and Jackson 1996, p. 18). Depletion of these prey species due to competition with humans represents a threat to the lion (Chardonnet et al. 2005, pp. 8-9). As noted, the increase in the human population in Africa is a major contributor to the increase in the

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    demand for bushmeat, which in turn increases human encroachment into wildlife lands (Lindsey et al. 2012b, p. 36). In addition to the increase in the human population, lack of an alternative livelihood, lack of alternate food sources, and lack of clear rights over land or wildlife are contributing factors toward the increase in demand for bushmeat (Lindsey et al. 2012b, pp. 36-41). The advent of automatic weapons in the bushmeat trade impacts the lion's prey base, which is being hunted at unsustainable levels.

    Reconnecting fragmented habitat has the additive effects of not only conserving the biodiversity of the African lion's habitat, but also that of its prey base (Lindsey et al. 2012b, p. 43). These types of restoration practices enhance the health of species by allowing genetic interchange to occur and, thus, conserve the genetic diversity of all wildlife. Wildlife management entities are linking many of the major protected areas by removing boundary fences along national borders that separate many reserves in addition to creating or improving corridors to link good-quality habitat for wildlife (Gadd 2012, p. 179; Newmark 2008, pp. 323-324). To address the increasing consumption of bushmeat, host countries have employed a variety of different strategies, including the development of alternative industries for communities. Helping local communities develop alternate industries represents one of the ways range countries can reduce their dependence on bushmeat. Throughout Africa, several ideas have been attempted with varying levels of success. For example, the Anne Kent Taylor Fund (AKTF) helps local Maasai women to buy beads and other supplies to produce traditional items for the local tourist industry (AKTF 2012, p. 7; Lindsey et al. 2012b, p. 45; van Villet 2011, p. 17). In addition, AKTF helps organize local men into anti-poaching and de-

    snaring teams (AKTF 2012, p. 5; van Villet 2011, p. 17). By creating programs targeting both men and women, AKTF creates an environment that provides communities with financial stability as well as direct community interest in protecting local wildlife. With 13 years assisting local communities, the AKTF represents one of the more successful attempts to encourage locals to shift away from relying on bushmeat.

    Studies compiled by Huzzah 2013 (pp. 1, 8) have shown that local communities who lived near protected areas with more lenient policies have a more positive attitude and relationship with both the manager and the protected area as a whole. This open approach to protected area management reflects a trend in recent years to bring in local communities to assist in the management of protected areas (Lindsey et al. 2012b, p. 53). Wildlife management programs run by local communities are defined by two goals: Conserving wildlife and providing economic aids to the community (Bandyopadhyay et al. 2010, p. 5). With regards to discouraging the consumption of bushmeat, this new approach is seen in the creation of community-based wildlife management programs (van Villet 2011, p. 26). The purpose of these programs is to give the local community a direct stake in the management of wildlife areas. One use for these areas is to turn them into game ranches. These areas are used both for legal bushmeat production as well as trophy hunting and ecotourism.

    One such program is the Chivaraidze Game Ranch in Zimbabwe (van Villet 2011, pp. 28-29). The Chivaraidze Game Ranch started in 1996 with the stated goal of reducing poaching through providing bushmeat at a reduced price. However, internal infighting in the organization over the devolution of power to local communities, between those in favor of devolution and a powerful local interest group, limited the effectiveness of the organization. In the span of 8 years (between 2001 and 2009), the Chivaraidze Game Ranch has had six different boards of directors (Mombeshora and Le Bel 2010, p. 5). Furthermore, a power shake-up in local communities along party lines and kinship affiliation limited the abilities for communities to cooperate with each other (van Villet 2011, pp. 28-29; Mombeshora and Le Bel 2010, p. 7). The result was that the cost of maintaining the program exceeded the benefits to the local community. The decline in economic benefits to the local community coincided with a resurgence in poaching within areas of the park (Mombeshora and Le Bel 2010, p. 3). The result of the Chivaraidze Game Ranch project reflects the difficulty in shifting wildlife management from a centralized national government approach towards a more decentralized, community-based approach.

    Unlike the difficulties encountered in Zimbabwe, Namibia has had greater success in setting up community-run conservancies. After gaining independence in 1990, Namibia began to turn over ownership of wildlife areas to local communities (van Vliet 2011, p. 29; Bandyopadhyay et al. 2010, p. 6). By 2011, Namibia had 64 communities that covered 17 percent of the country total area (van Vliet 2011, p. 29; Connif 2011, npn; NASCO 2010, p. 4). The majority of the incomes from these conservancies come from ecotourism, followed by trophy hunting (NASCO 2010, p. 22). These incomes are then used to support infrastructure improvement in the community. In addition, legal bushmeat acquired within conservancy lands is distributed to local families (NASCO 2010, p. 25). The success of the program in Namibia has been attributed to Namibia's unique characteristics, including low population density and favorable seasonal rain, which helps prey species recover (van Vliet 2011, p. 30). Despite the successes in Namibia, the country's unique characteristics mean that adapting Namibia's success to other, more densely populated countries will be difficult.

    Conservation Measures To Stem Human-Lion Conflict

    As the human population expands, the potential for conflict with wildlife increases. In Africa, conflict between villagers and lions, who prey upon livestock, represent a threat to the species (Chardonnet et al. 2010, p. 12; Moghari 2009, p. 14; IUCN 2006a, p. 23). In addition, habitat loss due to conversion of land increases the chance of villagers coming into direct contact with lions (Chardonnet et al. 2010, p. 24). In an attempt to address these problems, range countries have employed a variety of different strategies to help the lion. Such strategies involve education, an effective conservation plan, and interacting with the local community.

    Historically, range countries seek to mitigate human-lion conflict through controlling rather than conserving the predator population. In countries such as Malawi, for example, the Department of Game, Fish and Tsetse Control would shoot large carnivores that prey upon livestock. The result of this policy was that, between 1948 and 1961, over 560 predators (which include lions and leopards) were killed in the country (Mesochina et al. 2010b, p. 35). While this department was disbanded in 1963 and jurisdiction shifted to the new Department of Forestry, crop and livestock protection still remains an important part of its function. Despite the department focusing on protecting crops and livestock, the number of lions killed in the country has declined. Between 1977 and 1982, eight lions were killed, whereas six lions were killed between 1998 and 2007 (Mesochina et al. 2010b, p. 35). While fewer lions are being killed than in the previous decades, problems remain, including lack of resources, lack of

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    manpower, and corruption within the range countries.

    Current governmental management of lions in countries such as Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia are managed by the Problem Animal Control units (Mesochina et al. 2010a, p. 41; Mesochina et al. 2010b, p. 36). When lion attack incidents occur, Problem Animal Control dispatches officials to investigate the problems. If the problem lion is located, it is either removed or eliminated. When properly funded, this program has helped in reducing not only conflicts between lions and humans but also has driven down the numbers of lions killed. Between 2005 and 2009, there were 116 reported cases of lions killed, with the number of lions killed being less than 50 per year in Tanzania (Mesochina et al. 2010a, p. 41). However, limitations of resources (including both manpower and funds) have hampered the effectiveness of these officials in responding to these incidents. In addition, many Problem Animal Control interventions resulted in the death of the lion (Mesochina et al. 2010a, p. 41; Chardonnet et al. 2009, p. 36). Even in cases of translocation, the lions that were being transported often end up injured or continue to pose problems to the community (Bauer et al. 2007, p. 91).

    NGOs are also assisting in protecting lions. Intervention by NGOs often takes the form of interacting with the local community (Winterbach et al. 2010, p. 98). Lion Guardians, which operate in Kenya, recruits and educates local young men. These men then monitor and track lion movement and warn herders of lion presence in the area, thereby mitigating or preventing possible lion-human conflict (Hazzah et al. 2014, p. 853; Lion Guardians 2013, p. 7; Lion Guardians 2012, p. 3). In addition, Lion Guardians work with tribal elders to dissuade young men from killing lions for ceremonial purposes. Historically, the killing of lions through ritualized lion hunts called ilmurran is rewarded with gifting of cows and other rewards (Lion Guardians 2012, p. 5; Goldman et al. 2010, p. 334). After introducing village elders to the Lion Guardians program first hand, many return home to their village and give their blessings to the project. This education led to significant results; on August 11, 2013, two Lion Guardians stopped a group of hunters who were planning to hunt a lion in retaliation for the lion preying on their livestock. The local village elders fined the potential hunters two cattle each for going on a lion hunt, marking a gradual but significant shift in the cultural attitudes regarding the lion (Hazzah et al. 2014, p. 858; Lion Guardians 2013, p. 20). Since its establishment in 2007, only five lions had been killed in territories where Lion Guardians operates, in contrast to more than 100 lions killed in adjacent areas (Lion Guardians 2013, p. 5). Furthermore, reduced lion mortality was sustained across multiple years, resulting in the reserve having one of the highest lion densities in Africa (Hazzah et al. 2014, p. 857; Schuette et l. 2013, p. 149). Despite the success of this program, retaliatory as well as ceremonial killings of lions outside the program areas remain a threat to the species.

    We found that many of the lion range states are trying to address lion conservation through the establishment of protected areas, wildlife management areas, wildlife corridors, and reconnecting habitat. In some areas, creating incentives for lion conservation is occurring through community conservation programs in range countries. In other cases, participatory strategies have been implemented to enhance local tolerance for large carnivores in Africa. An increasing number of programs encourage local communities to solve problems that arise from human-lion conflict without killing lions. However, the effectiveness of these measures still ranges from successful to unsuccessful, due in part to lack of resources, political will, and infighting. It is imperative that range countries continue to recognize and support the role that local communities play in lion conservation. Greater support by countries to address the needs of local communities, and thereby address the needs of lions, may be the single-most important role these countries can play in changing the trajectory of lion declines.

    Regulatory Mechanisms

    Regulatory mechanisms in place to provide protections to African lions vary substantially throughout Africa. As mentioned in the Conservation Status of African Lions CITES section, lions are listed in Appendix II under CITES, and with the exception of South Sudan, all of the lion range states are parties to CITES. According to the draft CITES Periodic Review of the Status of African Lions (CITES 2014a, pp. 14-15) outside of CITES, lions have no legal protections in four countries: Burundi, Guinea Bissau, Lesotho, and Swaziland. However, CITES 2014a (p. 15), states that most of the southern and eastern lion range states have regulatory mechanisms in place to protect lions. We found that most of the range states have national environmental legislation to establish national parks and conservation areas, and to conserve and regulate the take, hunting, and trade of wildlife, including parts and products, but could find no legislation specific to lions, nor to the main threats affecting lions: habitat loss, human-

    lion conflict, and loss of prey base (See: Appendix A, Ecolex information was accessed July 7-10, 2014, at http://www.ecolex.org.\8\).

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    \8\ ECOLEX is a comprehensive database on environmental law, maintained by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Our search terms used with respect to wildlife laws were ``African lion'' and ``country'', e.g., ``Angola'', ``Benin'', etc. See Appendix A.

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    Our status review did not reveal regulatory mechanisms in place that specifically address the main threats affecting lions. We are requesting comments or information from lion range states, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific community, or any other interested parties concerning regulatory mechanisms that address the three main threats to lions: habitat loss, human-lion conflict, and loss of prey base.

    Finding

    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and its implementing regulations at 50 CFR 424 set forth the procedures for adding a species to, and/or removing a species from, the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. As noted in the Information Requested section, a species may be determined to be an endangered or threatened species due to one or more of the five factors set forth in section 4(a)(1) of the Act:

    (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range;

    (B) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;

    (C) Disease or predation;

    (D) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms;

    (E) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.

    In assessing whether the African lion meets the definition of an endangered or threatened species, we considered the five factors in section 4(a)(1) of the Act. A species is ``endangered'' for purposes of the Act if it is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range and is ``threatened'' if it is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. The ``foreseeable future'' is the period of time over which events or effects reasonably can or should be anticipated, or trends extrapolated.

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    When considering what factors might constitute threats to a species, we must look beyond the mere exposure of the species to a factor to evaluate whether the species may respond to the factor in a way that causes actual impacts to the species. If there is exposure to a factor and the species responds negatively, the factor may be a threat and we attempt to determine how significant a threat it is. The threat is significant if it drives, or contributes to, the risk of extinction of the species such that the species may warrant listing as endangered or threatened as those terms are defined in the Act. We conducted a review of the best scientific and commercial data available regarding the status of the African lion and assessed whether the African lion is endangered or threatened throughout all of its range.

    There is consensus within the research community as well as lion range states that the African lion is impacted by a number of factors actively contributing to its population decline throughout Africa: habitat loss (fragmentation and degradation) (Factor A); decreased access to food prey sources (aka loss of prey base) (Factor B); retaliatory killing, snaring, and poaching (both intentional and unintentional), and deleterious effects in its viability due to small populations in some areas within its range (Factor E) (Nyanganji et al. 2012, p. 12; Seguya et al. 2010, p. 26).

    We find three main threats, habitat loss, loss of prey base, and human-lion conflict, are impacting lions, alone and in combination, such that the subspecies is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all of its range. In the past several decades, the human population has been expanding with concomitant large decreases in lion habitat and likely lion numbers, resulting in an extremely large reduction in the species' range. As human populations continue to rise in sub-Saharan Africa, the amount of land required to meet the expanding human population's needs is constantly increasing. Lions are increasingly limited to protected areas, and human population growth rates around protected areas in Africa tend to be higher than the average rural growth rate (Wittemyer et al. 2008, entire). Considering the majority of the human population in sub-Saharan Africa is rural, and land supports the livelihood of most of the population, loss and degradation of lion habitat, loss of prey base, and increased human-lion conflict can reasonably be expected to accompany the rapid growth in sub-Saharan Africa's human population into the foreseeable future.

    Africa has the fastest population growth rate in the world (UNEP 2012a, p. 2). The majority of the population is rural, and about 60-70 percent of the population relies on agriculture and livestock for their livelihood (UNEP 2006, pp. 82, 100, 106; IAASTD 2009, p. 2). As a result, a large portion of the growing population will depend directly on expansion of agriculture and livestock grazing to survive in the future. Between 2010 and 2050, the population of sub-Saharan Africa is projected to more than double to more than 2 billion (from 831 million to 2.1 billion) (UN 2013, p. 9). During about this same time period (2005 to 2050), the area of cultivated land is projected to increase by 51 million ha (approximately 21 percent) (Alexandratos and Bruinsma 2012, p. 107). However, this figure does not include rangeland, and the majority of agricultural land in Africa is devoted to grazing (UNEP 2012b, p. 68), thus that figure may be much larger. The number of livestock (cattle, sheep, and goats) in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to increase about 73 percent, from 688 million to 1.2 billion, by 2050 (Alexandratos and Bruinsma 2012, p. 133). Therefore, in the case of African lion, the best available scientific and commercial data that we rely upon in projecting future conditions for the purpose of this listing determination establish the foreseeable future to be 2050.

    Human settlements and agricultural and pastoral activities have expanded into lion habitat and protected areas, decreasing prey availability and increasing exposure of livestock and humans to lions. Human-lion conflict and associated retaliatory killing of lions will continue to play a major role in the reduction of lion populations and is the greatest current threat to remaining lion populations. The lion's prey base has decreased in many parts of its range in large part due to the bushmeat trade

    Bushmeat is the primary source of protein for humans in much of the lion's range (Chardonnet et al. 2010, p. 27; Mesochina et al. 2010a, p. 38; Abwe and Morgan 2008, p. 26; Bennett et al. 2007, p. 885; Fa et al. 2006, p. 507), comprising between 6 percent (southern Africa) and 55 percent (Central African Republic) of a human's diet (Chardonnet et al. 2005, p. 9; IUCN 2006b, p. 19). This reliance by humans on protein obtained from bushmeat results in direct competition for prey species between humans and lions, and commercial poaching of wildlife through the use of automatic weapons is a significant threat to lion prey (Chardonnet et al. 2010, p. 27). Because many wildlife species are being hunted at unsustainable levels to meet this demand within the range of the lion, its prey base is becoming depleted in many areas and has led to lion attacks on livestock and humans (Hoppe-Dominik et al. 2011, p. 452; Chardonnet et al. 2010, pp. 6, 13-14; Frank et al. 2006, p. 12). Given the rapid increase in humans and livestock by 2050, we can reasonably expect the conditions described above to worsen. Also, as livestock numbers increase and as expansion of agricultural and pastoral practices continue to deplete and degrade the habitat that lion's prey rely on, the lion's prey base is expected to further decline. As the lion's prey base is hunted at unsustainable levels to meet a growing demand for food, livestock depredation and retributive killing of lions through spearing, shooting, trapping, and poisoning will continue to occur, and will likely increase (Dickman 2013, p. 379; Hoppe-Dominik et al. 2011, p. 452; Chardonnet et al. 2010, p. 19; Gebresenbet et al. 2009, p. 9; Hazzah and Dolrenry 2007, p. 3).

    Lion range countries are aware of the threats affecting lions, and many are working to address them. NGOs and several governments at various levels have organized regional lion conservation workshops, which have helped them to identify Lion Conservation Units. Most range countries have a national lion action plan or strategy in place (Groom 2013; Nghidinwa et al. 2013, pp. 11-12; Zambia Wildlife Authority 2012; Lion Aid 2011, pp. 1-2; Mesochina et al. 2010; Government of Tanzania 2010; Begg and Begg 2010). Some range countries participate in transboundary conservation projects to create wildlife corridors and reconnect habitat, and are collaborating on transboundary lion conservation initiatives for shared lion populations. Reconnecting fragmented habitat has the additive effects of not only strengthening the biodiversity of the African lion but also that of its prey species (Lindsey et al. 2012b, p. 43). Wildlife management entities are linking many of the major protected areas by removing boundary fences along national borders that separate many reserves, in addition to creating or improving corridors to link good-quality habitat for wildlife (Gadd 2012, p. 179; Newmark 2008, pp. 323-324).

    Range states have also implemented a number of conservation strategies designed to conserve habitat, reduce human-lion conflict, and preserve lion

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    prey-base. In order to address the increasing consumption of bushmeat, host countries have employed a variety of different strategies, including the development of alternative industries for communities, which can reduce their dependence on bushmeat. For example, the Anne Kent Taylor Fund (AKTF) helps local Maasai women to buy beads and other supplies to produce traditional items for the local tourist industry (AKTF 2012, p. 7; Lindsey et al. 2012b, p. 45; van Villet 2011, p. 17) and has organized local men to participate in anti-poaching and de-

    snaring teams (AKTF 2012, p. 5; van Villet 2011, p. 17). By targeting both men and women in the community, such programs provide communities with financial stability as well as direct community interest in protecting local wildlife. African countries are realizing the benefits of managing their wildlife populations and parks for tourism; however, conservation of vast areas of land for megafauna such as the African lion is expensive. The costs of anti-poaching and compensation is expected to increase in range states concurrently with growing human populations, declining purchasing power of external funds, and corruption (Garnett et al. 2011, pp. 1-2; Wittemyer et al. 2008, pp. 123, 125).

    Studies have shown that local communities who live near protected areas (PAs) with community-based conservation policies have more positive attitudes and relationships with both the park manager and the PA as a whole (Huzzah 2013, pp. 1, 8). This open approach to PA management reflects a trend in recent years to bring in local communities to assist in the management of PAs (Lindsey et al. 2012b, p. 53). Wildlife management programs run by local communities are defined by two goals: conserving wildlife and providing economic aids to the community (Bandyopadhyay et al. 2010, p. 5). NGOs are also assisting in protecting lions. Intervention by NGOs often takes the form of interacting with the local community (Winterbach et al. 2010, p. 98). For example, Lion Guardians, which operates in Kenya, has shown great success with its Lion Guard program. Lion Guardians educates local young men who monitor and track lion movement and warn herders of lion presence in the area, thereby mitigating or preventing possible lion-yhuman conflict (Hazzah et al. 2014, p. 853; Lion Guardians 2013, p. 7; Lion Guardians 2012, p. 3). Outreach to tribal elders has successfully helped elders to dissuade young men from killing lions for ceremonial purposes. The result of such programs has been a gradual change in cultural attitudes towards lions (Hazzah et al. 2014, p. 858; Lion Guardians 2013, p. 20).

    Finally, many range countries rely heavily on tourism (predominantly ecotourism and safari hunting) to provide funding for wildlife management (IUCN 2006a, p. 24). The revenue generated from these industries can be critical to fund wildlife management programs in range states. Tourism, through ecotourism and trophy hunting, can provide jobs to locals (such as game guards, cooks, drivers, security personnel) and often brings in revenue for local microbusinesses that sell art, jewelry, and other native crafts. Lions can generate the highest daily rate of any mammal hunted (USD $2,650 per day), the longest number of days that must be booked, and the highest trophy fee ($24,500) (Jackson 2013, p. 6; Lindsey et al. 2012a, p. 5), thus generating significant revenue for range countries. Creating community-

    based incentives to conserve lions from revenue derived from trophy hunting may ameliorate the human-lion conflict that arises from lions and humans coexisting in the same area.

    Revenue from scientifically based management programs that include trophy hunting can increase the ability of many African countries to manage wildlife populations both within and adjacent to reserves; many of these hunting areas are geographically linked to national parks and reserves, providing wildlife corridors and buffer zones (Chardonnet et al. 2010, p. 34; Newmark 2008, p. 321). In the past, government and private land owners were the primary beneficiaries of the revenue gained; however, a portion of the revenue derived from hunting is reportedly now being distributed to local communities, creating a value for lions that encourages their conservation (Barnett & Patterson 2005, p. iv). Revenue from trophy hunting is purported to create: (1) Incentives for countries to conserve large tracts of prime habitat; and (2) funding for park and reserve management, anti-poaching, and security activities. Because habitat loss has been identified as one of the primary threats to lion populations, it is notable that trophy hunting has provided lion range states incentives to set land aside for hunting throughout Africa, and the land set aside exceeds the total area of the national parks, accounting for approximately half of the amount of viable lion habitat (Chardonnet et al. 2010, p. 34; Packer et al. 2006, pp. 9-10).

    In Tanzania, which is home to 40 percent of all lions, land set aside for sport hunting purposes has resulted in an area 5.1 times greater than Tanzania's fully protected and gazetted parks (Jackson 2013, p. 6; Barnett & Patterson 2005, p. 61). In Botswana, despite the current ban on lion hunting, the country currently has more than 128,000 km\2\ of gazetted wildlife management areas and controlled hunting areas set aside for hunting purposes, which equates to 22.1 percent of the country's total area; this is in addition to 111,000 km\2\ (or 19.1 percent) that has been set aside as habitat in the form of National Parks, Game Reserves, and Forest Reserves (Barnett & Patterson 2005, p. 7). In 2000, five countries in southern Africa (Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe) had set aside a combined 420,000 km\2\ of communal land, 188,000 km\2\ of commercial land, and 420,089 km\2\ of state land totaling more than 1,028,000 km\2\ for sport hunting purposes (Barnett & Patterson 2005, p. iii). As a species with a considerable range (up to 1,000 km\2\) (Packer et al. 2013 p. 636; Haas et al. 2005, p. 4), suitable habitat is important to the survival of the species, and the marked decline in suitable habitat is a significant threat to the species. The habitat currently preserved for use in sport hunting has helped to reduce the impact of habitat loss for the African lion, but as discussed previously, habitat loss remains a significant threat to the species.

    Within its current range, the African lion exists in 10 stronghold populations containing approximately 24,000 lions (70 percent of the current African lion population), 19,000 of which are in protected areas, and in 7 potential stronghold populations containing another 4,000 lions. Reports from the IUCN Species Survival Commission Cat Specialist Group (IUN 2006a, b) characterize the population as increasing in 3 of those strongholds, as stable in 6 of the strongholds, and as decreasing in 1 stronghold. Most lion populations in protected areas of southern and eastern Africa have been essentially stable over the last three decades (Ray et al. 2005, p. 67). In contrast to the stronghold or potential stronghold populations, other African lion populations, containing a total of more than 6,000 individuals, have a very high risk of local extinction (Reggio et al. 2013, p. 33. During the 2005-2006 African lion workshops, lion experts characterized lion populations in 36 (42 percent) of the 86 LCUs as decreasing. In extensive surveys recently conducted within 15 of the 20 LCUs in western and

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    central Africa, Henschel et al. (2010, entire) were able to confirm lion presence in only four. The work of Packer et al. (2013) suggests future declines within a number of protected areas. Craigie et al. (2010, entire) provide evidence of declining large mammal populations in Africa's protected areas, indicating that protected areas in Africa have generally failed to mitigate threats to large mammal populations, including African lion. Although Craigie et al. (2010, p. 2,225) found large regional differences (from large declines in western Africa to positive rates of change in southern Africa), they found overall populations decreased steadily from 1970 to 2005.

    The best available scientific and commercial information leads us to conclude that the African lion is in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future throughout all of its range. Accordingly, we find that listing is warranted and we propose to list it as a threatened species throughout its range, wherever found.

    Significant Portion of Its Range

    Under the Act and our implementing regulations, a species may warrant listing if it is endangered or threatened throughout all or a significant portion of its range. The term ``species'' includes ``any subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct population segment DPS of any species of vertebrate fish or wildlife which interbreeds when mature.'' We published a final policy interpreting the phrase ``Significant Portion of its Range'' (SPR) (79 FR 37578, July 1, 2014). The final policy states that (1) if a species is found to be endangered or threatened throughout a significant portion of its range, the entire species is listed as endangered or threatened, respectively, and the Act's protections apply to all individuals of the species wherever found; (2) a portion of the range of a species is ``significant'' if the species is not currently endangered or threatened throughout all of its range, but the portion's contribution to the viability of the species is so important that, without the members in that portion, the species would be in danger of extinction, or likely to become so in the foreseeable future, throughout all of its range; (3) the range of a species is considered to be the general geographical area within which that species can be found at the time FWS or NMFS makes any particular status determination; and (4) if a vertebrate species is endangered or threatened throughout an SPR, and the population in that significant portion is a valid DPS, we will list the DPS rather than the entire taxonomic species or subspecies.

    We found the African lion to be in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future throughout all of its range. Therefore, no portions of the species' range are ``significant'' as defined in our SPR policy and no additional SPR analysis is required.

    Proposed 4(d) Rule

    The purposes of the ESA are to provide a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered species and threatened species depend may be conserved, to provide a program for the conservation of such endangered species and threatened species, and to take such steps as may be appropriate to achieve the purposes of the treaties and conventions set forth in the ESA. When a species is listed as endangered, certain actions are prohibited under section 9 of the ESA, as specified in 50 CFR 17.21. These include, among others, prohibitions on take within the United States, within the territorial seas of the United States, or upon the high seas; import; export; and shipment in interstate or foreign commerce in the course of a commercial activity.

    The ESA does not specify particular prohibitions and exceptions to those prohibitions for threatened species. Instead, under section 4(d) of the ESA, the Secretary, as well as the Secretary of Commerce depending on the species, was given the discretion to issue such regulations as deemed necessary and advisable to provide for the conservation of such species. The Secretary also has the discretion to prohibit by regulation with respect to any threatened species any act prohibited under section 9(a)(1) of the ESA. Exercising this discretion, the Service has developed general prohibitions (50 CFR 17.31) and exceptions to those prohibitions (50 CFR 17.32) under the ESA that apply to most threatened species. Under 50 CFR 17.32, permits may be issued to allow persons to engage in otherwise prohibited acts for certain purposes.

    Under section 4(d) of the ESA, the Secretary, who has delegated this authority to the Service, may also develop specific prohibitions and exceptions tailored to the particular conservation needs of a threatened species. In such cases, the Service issues a 4 (d) rule that may include some or all of the prohibitions and authorizations set out in 50 CFR 17.31 and 17.32 but which also may be more or less restrictive than the general provisions at 50 CFR 17.31 and 17.32. For the African lion, the Service has determined that a 4(d) rule is appropriate.

    We propose to add a 4(d) (special) rule for the African lion (Panthera leo leo) at 50 CFR 17.40(n). This 4(d) rule would maintain all of the prohibitions and exceptions codified in 50 CFR 17.31 and 17.32 and would supersede with regard to African lion the import exemption found in 50 CFR 17.8 for threatened wildlife listed in Appendix II of CITES, such that a threatened species import permit under 50 CFR 17.32 would be required for the importation of all African lion specimens. Through the promulgation of the proposed 4(d) rule, the presumption of legality provided under Section 9(c)(2) of the Act for the otherwise lawful importation of wildlife listed in Appendix II of CITES that is not an endangered species listed pursuant to section 4 of the Act would not apply to this subspecies. Thus, under the proposed 4(d) rule, all otherwise prohibited activities, including all imports of African lion specimens, would require prior authorization or permits under the Act. Under our regulations, permits or authorization to carry out an otherwise prohibited activity could be issued for scientific purposes, the enhancement of propagation or survival of the species, economic hardship, zoological exhibitions, educational purposes, or special purposes consistent with the purposes of the Act. Applications for these activities are available from http://www.fws.gov/forms/3-200-37.pdf.

    The intent of this proposed 4(d) rule is to provide for the conservation of the African lion consistent with the purposes of the Act. Under the proposed 4(d) rule, the prohibitions would, in part, make it illegal for any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to ``take'' (includes harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or to attempt any of these) within the United States or upon the high seas; import or export; deliver, receive, carry, transport, or ship in interstate or foreign commerce, by any means whatsoever, in the course of commercial activity; or sell or offer for sale in interstate or foreign commerce any lion specimens. It would also be illegal to possess, sell, deliver, carry, transport, or ship any such wildlife that has been taken in violation of the Act. We believe that these protections, including the requirement for an import permit for all African lion specimens, will support and encourage conservation actions for the African lion and require that permitted activities involving lions are carried out in a manner that is consistent with the purposes of the Act and our implementing regulations.

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    In connection with this proposed 4(d) rule, the Service notes that the African lion is listed in Appendix II of CITES, and thus can be imported into the U.S. pursuant to Section 9(c)(2) of the Act and upon presentation of a proper CITES export permit from the country of origin. Section 9(c)(2) of the Act provides that the otherwise lawful importation of wildlife that is not an endangered species listed pursuant to section 4 of the Act, but that is listed in Appendix II of CITES, shall be presumed to be in compliance with provisions of the Act and implementing regulations. While there has been question as to whether this provision of the Act might automatically require allowing the importation of a species that is both listed as threatened and in Appendix II, and preclude the issuance of more restrictive 4 (d) rules covering importation, the Service has concluded that such 4 (d) rules may be issued to provide for the conservation of the involved species. Section 9(c)(2) does not expressly refer to threatened species or prevent the issuance of appropriate 4 (d) rules and could not logically have been intended to allow the addition of a species to an appendix of an international convention to override the needs of U.S. law, where there is reliable evidence to affect the presumption of validity. Finally, the term ``presumed'' implies that the established presumption is rebuttable under certain circumstances, including through the promulgation of a protective regulation pursuant to section 4(d) of the Act.

    In the case of the African lion, there are substantive grounds on which to challenge the presumption. For the import of sport-hunted trophies, while there is evidence that many of the range countries are implementing lion management plans, we want to encourage and support efforts by these countries to develop plans that are based on sound scientific information. As noted, the proposed 4(d) rule for African lion would provide for the importation into the United States of trophies taken legally in range countries upon the issuance of a threatened species import permit. While the Service cannot control hunting of foreign species such as African lion, we can regulate their importation and thereby require that U.S. imports of sport-hunted African lion trophy specimens are obtained in a manner that is consistent with the purposes of the Act and the conservation of the subspecies in the wild, by allowing importation from range countries that have management plans that are based on scientifically sound data and are being implemented to address the threats that are facing lions within that country.

    Such management plans would be expected to address, but are not limited to, evaluating population levels and trends; the biological needs of the species; quotas; management practices; legal protection; local community involvement; and use of hunting fees for conservation. In evaluating these factors, we will work closely with the range countries and interested parties to obtain the best available scientific and commercial data. By allowing entry into the United States of African lion trophies from range countries that have scientifically based management plans, the range countries would be encouraged to adopt and financially support the sustainable management of lions that benefits both the species and local communities. In addition to addressing the biological needs of the subspecies, a scientifically based management plan would provide economic incentives for local communities to protect and expand African lion habitat.

    As stated, anyone wishing to conduct any otherwise prohibited activity, such as interstate commerce or imports, must first obtain a permit under the current permitting regulations found at 50 CFR 13 and 50 CFR 17. As will all permits, the individual requesting authorization to carry out an otherwise prohibited activity under the Act must submit a permit application to the Service with specific information concerning the proposed activity and the benefits/impacts of the activity on the species. In some cases, such as imports of sport-hunted trophies, it is not always possible for the applicant to provide all of the necessary information needed by the Service to make a positive determination under the Act to authorize the activity. For the import of sport-hunted trophies, it is typical for the Service to consult with the range country and other interested parties to obtain the necessary information. To date, the Service typically has made the required findings on sport-hunted trophy imports on a country-wide basis, although individual import permits are issued for each applicant. While the Service encourages the submission of information from individual applicants, we would primarily rely on information from other sources when making a permitting decision.

    Effects of This Rule

    This rule, if made final, would revise 50 CFR 17.11(h) to add the African lion to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. This rule, if adopted, would also establish a 4(d) rule for the African lion, which implements all of the prohibitions and exceptions under 50 CFR 17.31 and 17.32 and requires a threatened species import permit under 50 CFR 17.32 for the importation of all African lion specimens. Under the proposed 4(d) rule, the import exemption found in 50 CFR 17.8 for threatened wildlife listed in Appendix II of CITES would not apply to this subspecies. Through the promulgation of the proposed 4(d) rule, the presumption of legality provided under Section 9(c)(2) of the Act for the otherwise lawful importation of wildlife listed in Appendix II of CITES that is not an endangered species listed pursuant to section 4 of the Act would not apply to this subspecies. (See: Proposed Special Rule section).

    Available Conservation Measures

    Conservation measures provided to species listed as endangered or threatened under the Act include recognition of conservation status, requirements for Federal protection, and prohibitions against certain practices. Recognition through listing encourages and results in public awareness and conservation actions by Federal and State governments in the United States, foreign governments, private agencies and groups, and individuals.

    Section 7(a) of the Act, as amended, and as implemented by regulations at 50 CFR part 402, requires Federal agencies to evaluate their actions that are to be conducted within the United States or upon the high seas, with respect to any species that is proposed to be listed or is listed as endangered or threatened. Because the African lion is not native to the United States, no critical habitat is being proposed for designation with this rule. Regulations implementing the interagency cooperation provision of the Act are codified at 50 CFR part 402. Section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires Federal agencies to ensure that activities they authorize, fund, or carry out are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species or to destroy or adversely modify its critical habitat. If a proposed Federal action may adversely affect a listed species, the responsible Federal agency must enter into formal consultation with the Service. Currently, with respect to the African lion, no Federal activities are known that would require consultation.

    Section 8(a) of the Act authorizes the provision of limited financial assistance for the development and management of programs that the Secretary of the Interior determines to be necessary or useful for the conservation of

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    endangered or threatened species in foreign countries. Sections 8(b) and 8(c) of the Act authorize the Secretary to encourage conservation programs for foreign listed species, and to provide assistance for such programs, in the form of personnel and the training of personnel.

    Section 9 of the Act and its implementing regulations at 50 CFR 17.31 set forth a series of general prohibitions that apply to all threatened wildlife, except where a 4(d) rule applies, in which case the 4(d) rule will contain all the applicable prohibitions and exceptions. If the 4(d) rule is adopted as proposed, these prohibitions would apply to the African lion. These prohibitions, in part, make it illegal for any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to ``take'' (includes harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or to attempt any of these) within the United States or upon the high seas; import or export; deliver, receive, carry, transport, or ship in interstate or foreign commerce, by any means whatsoever, in the course of commercial activity; or sell or offer for sale in interstate or foreign commerce any lion specimens. It also is illegal to possess, sell, deliver, carry, transport, or ship any such wildlife that has been taken in violation of the Act. Permits may be issued to carry out otherwise prohibited activities involving threatened wildlife species under certain circumstances. Certain exceptions apply to agents of the Service and State conservation agencies.

    Required Determinations

    National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.)

    We have determined that we do not need to prepare an environmental assessment, as defined under the authority of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, in connection with regulations adopted under section 4(a) of the Act. We published a notice outlining our reasons for this determination in the Federal Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244).

    References Cited

    A list of all references cited in this document is available at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R9-ES-2012-0025, or upon request from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Program, Branch of Foreign Species (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

    Authors

    The primary authors of this proposed rule are staff of the Branch of Foreign Species, Ecological Services, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    For the reasons described in the preamble, we propose to amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:

    PART 17--AMENDED

    0

    1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

      Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 1531-1544; and 4201-4245; unless otherwise noted.

      0

    2. In Sec. 17.11(h), the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife, add an entry for ``Lion, African'' under Mammals to read as follows:

      Sec. 17.11 Endangered and threatened wildlife.

      * * * * *

      (h) * * *

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Species Vertebrate

      -------------------------------------------------------- population where Critical Special

      Historic range endangered or Status When listed habitat rules

      Common name Scientific name threatened

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Mammals

      * * * * * * *

      Lion, African.................... Panthera leo leo.... Africa............. Entire............. T ........... NA 17.40(n)

      * * * * * * *

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      * * * * *

      0

    3. Amend Sec. 17.40 by adding paragraph (n) to read as follows:

      Sec. 17.40 Special rules--mammals.

      * * * * *

      (n) African lion (Panthera leo leo).

      (1) General requirements. All prohibitions and provisions of Sec. Sec. 17.31 and 17.32 of this part apply to this subspecies.

      (2) The import exemption found in Sec. 17.8 of this part for threatened wildlife listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) does not apply to this subspecies. A threatened species import permit under Sec. 17.32 of this part is required for the importation of all African lion specimens.

      (3) All applicable provisions of 50 CFR parts 13, 14, 17, and 23 must be met.

      * * * * *

      Dated: October 20, 2014.

      Stephen Guertin,

      Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.

      FR Doc. 2014-25731 Filed 10-28-14; 8:45 am

      BILLING CODE 4310-55-P