If measures aren’t taken, half of the African lion population might be gone by 2035, and some regions could be affected more than others.
- Researchers analyzed over 8,200 lions in 47 different locations across Africa
- There is a 67% chance that they will be cut in half in West and Central Africa
- There is a 37% chance of the same consequence in East Africa
- Their population have seen a 50% decrease since 1993
The majestic feline that roams around African grounds might be in peril of endangerment. The numbers have seen a continual downward trajectory, that has been drawing the attention of conservationists for years. A century ago, there were 200,000 African lions in the wild. Now, here are about 20,000 of them left.
Since the 1990s, throughout many parts of Africa, their population suffered a sharp decline, and their numbers may yet drop. In fact, the feline population dropped by 50% since 1993, and the same amount of reduction could happen again in the next 20 years.
Researchers from Panthera, an organization dedicated to preserving big cats around the world, have analyzed 47 out of the 67 known lion populations. The numbers were estimated at around 8,221 lions between them, but most were found to be rapidly declining. The more pronounced reductions were recorded in West and Central Africa, within the Comoé and Mole national parks. The animals there were nearly extinct.
Regions across East Africa have seen lesser declines in population, but nonetheless relevant. Only certain populations in South Africa seem stable and safe from danger. Or even increased. This is due to the smaller density of human population, national policies, and careful fencing of the animals into safe spaces.
According to Luke Hunter, who co-authored the study, this cannot “lead us into complacency” though. The problem is still severe. As added by Hans Bauer from Oxford University, who aided in the study, we are losing the ‘image’ most have of lions: roaming, living, and hunting around the arid savannas.
If it’s a matter of bias, however, researchers claimed that their report is actually optimistic. In fact, the rapid decline of lion populations might have been underestimated.
This is after their study suggests that there is a 67% chances that half the lions in Central and Western Africa will be gone in the next two decades. For the Eastern populations, such as the lions in the Serengeti National Park, the chances were a bit smaller, 37%, but nonetheless pronounced.
These threats to the existence of the “king of the jungle” has been brought forward by the expansion of human population across their lands. Be it poaching, trophy hunting, habitat loss, their resources of food replenished, or ‘revenge kills’ for attacking livestock, they have undoubtedly seem numerous factors attacking their existence.
At the moment, the African lion population is labeled as ‘vulnerable’. This means that they’re not ‘endangered’ and heading for extinction, but only that they might be soon enough.
Image source: maxisciences.com