"It has been a very long four years waiting for this decision, with each year seeing more lions slaughtered by hunters for trophies," Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, said in a statement, describing the decision as a victory. "We are hopeful the USFWS will be rigorous when investigating any management plans in lion range states and proposed trophy imports, and that the U.S. government will set the bar incredibly high before allowing any trophies to come in."
"While this falls short of a full ban on lion trophy imports that IFAW would like to have seen, it is still a huge step in the right direction," the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) wrote on Monday.
The U.S. announcement follows France's decision last month to ban the import of all lion heads, paws and skins as trophies. France was the first EU state to do so. Australia issued a similar ban in March.
FWS is expected to announce the details of the changes on Monday.
This post has been updated to include a statement from Adam M. Roberts.