When the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service declared protection of two lion subspecies (Panthera leo leo and Panthera leo melanochaita) under the Endangered Species Act in 2015, they also confirmed that well-managed, science-based sport hunting could provide benefit.

To uphold that statement, the Service allows imports of sport hunted trophies that come from countries with the evidence of well-managed hunting programs. They also consider factors such as population estimates and biological species needs.

The Service chart below explains which countries are still under review and which circumstances may limit legal imports.

Country status for import of lion trophies*
  Approved Under Review Not Approved to Date Applies to Lions Hunted during the dates
Mozambique X
Namibia X
South Africa: Wild Lions X January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2019
South Africa: Wild-Managed Lions X January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2019
South Africa: Captive Lions X until new information is received
Tanzania X
Zambia X January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2018
Zimbabwe X January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2018

*IMPORTANT: Applications will continue to be accepted and reviewed from all countries.  Findings may be reconsidered if new information is received. We will consider additional information from the country, the individual hunter, or other interested parties on how the import of a sport-hunted lion from that country enhances the survival of lions in the wild.  All applications are reviewed on a case-by case basis and must meet all other applicable permitting requirements.

Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service