The Obama administration’s Fish and Wildlife Service announced Monday that two lion subspecies would now be listed under the Endangered Species Act, largely prohibiting the import of their trophies.

The species, Panthera leo leo, located in India and western and central Africa, will be listed as endangered; while Panthera leo melanochaita, located in eastern and southern Africa, will be listed as threatened moving forward. The action will prevent USFW inspectors from allowing the importation of sporting-related trophies from these species.

The action comes after a summer of unprecedented public outcry over the taking of a celebrity lion in Africa by a U.S. hunter and is needed, contends the agency, to help stave off a decline in lion populations in the wild.

“The lion is one of the planet’s most beloved species and an irreplaceable part of our shared global heritage,” said USFW Director Dan Ashe in a statement. “If we want to ensure that healthy lion populations continue to roam the African savannas and forests of India, it’s up to all of us – not just the people of Africa and India – to take action.”

In 2011, the agency received a petition to list the whole Panthera leo subspecies of African and Indian lion as endangered and cites that just over 1,400 of these animals still exist, thus meeting the requirement for reclassification. While the Panthera leo melanochaita are more numerous, with as many as 19,000 scattered across the African continent, and the agency admits numbers are…

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