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A coalition of wildlife campaigners are seeking to have the African lion placed on the US endangered status list for animals.
They argue that the battle to save lions from extinction in their homeland should begin in the US.
The group claims trophy hunting or killing lions for sport is one of the biggest factors contributing to the declining numbers of African lions, already threatened by increasing human encroachments and disease.They say the US is the leading importer of lions and lion parts.
Wildlife conservation groups have filed a petition with the Department of Interior to list the animals as endangered under the US Endangered Species Act.
Adam Roberts, executive vice president of conservation group Born Free USA said listing the animal as endangered in the US would make it harder for trophy hunters in America to import lion parts into the country.
"We are playing such a huge role in importing literally thousands of lion parts every year and perhaps one of the most concerning things to us is the trend - not only is the population of lions decreasing in the wild, over the past 30 years the population has been nearly cut in half, but at the same time, the number of lion parts that are being imported into the United States are going up," he said.
Describing the future of African lions as perilous, Roberts said that trophy hunters in America in 2008 imported twice as many lion parts as they did ten years earlier.
Advocates hope protection for the lions under the Endangered Species Act will help raise global awareness of the plight of the African lion and increase its numbers.