Lions are endangered, there's no legitimate doubt about that. Requirements for meeting the international definition for endangerment are clear, and if anything, very conservative (look up CITES for more info). The very steep decline in lion population in recent years has been unknown to most Americans in particular, for a simple reason; wealthy special interests based in the U.S. are the primary cause of poaching and killing wild lions, having doubled the number of lion "trophies" imported to the U.S. in less than 10 years. Major wildlife non-profits have been trying to have African lions listed under the ESA because the U.S. is by far the largest market and destination for lion "trophy" parts, and they continue to be blocked by the tiny, very wealthy "trophy" hunting organizations. Listing under the Endangered Species Act would criminalize the importation, effectively ending the reason for the "canned hunts" and poaching. This is considered by wildlife scientists to be the most essential action possible to stop the population decline and save lions from extinction.