New Delhi: Habitat loss due to climate change, poaching, trophy hunting and other illegal practices have created a tormenting environment for animals around the world.
The magnitude of the impact is so extensive that the animals are disappearing at a fast rate and gradually inching toward extinction.
The newest addition to the endangered list is the African leopard, which has suffered a population decline of 30 percent in the past 25 years and may qualify the "endangered status" under the Endangered Species Act.
A legal petition to extend the full protections of the Endangered Species Act to African leopards (Panthera pardus pardus) was filed last July, jointly by the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International (HSI), International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Fund for Animals.
As per Nature World News, HSI director of the wildlife department Teresa M. Telecky, Ph.D, said in a statement, "African leopard numbers are plummeting and as the largest leopard trophy importer in the world, the United States has taken a critical step toward ensuring that our consumption does not threaten the survival of this species."
Meanwhile, in a report from the Center for Biological Diversity, Sarah Uhlemann, international program director at the Center for Biological Diversity explained that "leopards in Asia and northern Africa have long been recognized as endangered."
"And the United States must extend this same level of protection to all leopards to reverse their disturbing decline," Uhlemann added.
Studies show that poorly managed trophy hunting was a key driver of leopard population decrease. Early this year, South Africa has banned trophy hunting in their lands due to the alert from its CITES Scientific Authority that the number of leopards in the country was unknown and that trophy hunting risks the survival of the species, Nature World News reported.