African Lions

The recent Wildlife Extra news item ‘Lions Extinct in 25 African Countries & Populations in more Trouble than Previously Thought‘ makes for sad reading.  According to the article, Lion Aid has made a new assessment of the lion populations on the African continent and it reveals a catastrophic decline from previously held extrapolated estimates with around 15,000-15,200 lions remaining (645-795 lions in western and central Africa, and 14,450 lions in eastern and southern Africa).

A mere five populations are likely to number over 1,000 lions: three in Tanzania/Kenya, one in Botswana/Zimbabwe, and one in South Africa. Lion Aid believes lion populations have declined for a variety of reasons, including:

  • habitat loss;
  • destruction of natural prey due to poaching for households and the bush meat trade;
  • human/livestock/predator conflict;
  • impact of diseases like canine distemper, bovine tuberculosis and feline immunodeficiency virus;
  • illegal wildlife trade in lion products and live animals; and
  • excessive trophy hunting.

The western and central African lions, which are genetically distinct from their eastern and southern African counterparts, are considered to be on the verge on extinction and could be extinct in just five years.

Of the 49 continental African countries, lions are extinct in 25 countries and virtually extinct in 10 countries.

Please visit the Wildlife Extra web site for the full story.

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