The answer depends upon which legal entity has custody of, or owns the lion or lions. There are different rules for individual people and organisations either for profit or non-profit. I would recommend that you read the law on this which you can find by clicking here. In essence, the answer is as follows:
For individuals, lions are legal in Texas provided that you have the requisite certificate of registration which I interpret as being a licence to own or possess a lion. Organisations such as circuses, zoos and research facilities don’t need a licence but no doubt there will be regulations governing how these organisations are run.
If an individual successfully applies for a licence using a pro forma they will have to comply with certain stipulations such as allowing an employee of the local authority to visit their establishment to check the facilities and paperwork et cetera. There might be a fee for the license and there will be other regulations governing ownership or possession of such a iconic wild and indeed dangerous animal. One of them will no doubt be that an individual cannot start trading in lions as a business. If an individual wants to live with a lion as a sort of pet then they will be restricted that arrangement. And there will have to be standards and records.
Animal laws of Texas includes the possession and ownership of dangerous wild animals. As can reasonably be expected the lion is on that list.
I would advise people to read the law on this thoroughly and/or telephone the local authorities to (1) familiarise themselves with the law in all its detail and (2) ensure that the law that I’m referring to is up-to-date. We know that all laws at any level or of any type can be updated and changed. Laws are frequently amended. You need to be up to scratch on the regulations. The law I am referring to is: HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE. TITLE 10. HEALTH AND SAFETY OF ANIMALS. CHAPTER 822. REGULATION OF ANIMALS.
For instance, Carole Baskin of Big Cat Rescue is campaigning for federal legislation which would prohibit the private ownership of big cats and which would curb the exploitative industry of cub-petting. It is called the Big Public Safety Act. It has passed in the House of Representatives. Obviously, if this act becomes law in America what I have said above becomes redundant. It would change the picture completely. This is an example of what I mean by keeping pace with the law.
SOME MORE ON ANIMAL LAWS: