So, what do the hunters think? First, the Safari Club International (SCI) message seems to be clear (well, clear propaganda): "This decision was a defeat for the anti-hunting groups that had petitioned the FWS to list the lion as endangered." Ok, we asked for "endangered" and got "threatened." Yes, that is not what we wanted. But, what we got was fundamentally as good in practice. And, don't actions speak louder than words? Who cares what the listing is named? The outcome is that it will be much, much harder to import lion trophies: a practice that puts the species at risk.
Defeat? Lions had not been listed under the ESA. We petitioned for listing. They are now proposed for "threatened" status. I'll take it!
And, SCI even questions the need for protection of lions at all. In the organization's (incorrect and biased) view, the lion is doing just fine! SCI's Melissa Simpson has the gall to ask: "Is the condition of the lion really that dire?...There are between 32,000 and 35,000 lions living in the wild in Africa." 32,000-35,000 lions-compared to what? Those numbers do not exist in a vacuum; they actually indicate a shocking decline. In 1980, an estimated 78,500 wild lions roamed Africa. And, most of today's populations are too small and isolated from other populations to be viable. So, yes; more than a 50% decline in just a few short decades does indicate dire conditions. Clearly so.