Violators could be slapped with 10 years of jail time and a fine of up to $170,000 for individuals and up to $850,000 for corporations, the Guardian reports. Environment minister Greg Hunt spoke to a crowd about the ban at a march for lions in Melbourne on Friday:
"It is about raising the most majestic of creatures for a singular purpose and that is to kill them, to shoot them for pleasure and for profit. It is done in inhumane conditions. It is involving things such as raising and then drugging and in many cases, baiting. It is simply not acceptable in our day, in our time, on our watch."
With fewer than 40,000 African lions left in the wild, the move comes not a moment too soon. Their numbers have been declining so drastically in recent years that the U.S. proposed to list them as threatened under the Endangered Species Act last October. If the listing goes through, lion part imports will be banned in the U.S., too.