Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Lions extinct in 25 African countries & populations in more trouble than previously thought

Lions virtually extinct in 10 countries
January 2013. LionAid, the charity dedicated to lion conservation, has made a new assessment of remaining lion populations on the African continent. The assessment reveals a catastrophic decline from previously held extrapolated estimates.

Just 15,000 lions left in Africa
LionAid estimates that only 15,244 lions remain on the entire continent with only 645-795 wild lions remaining in western and central Africa and 14,450 wild lions remaining in eastern and southern Africa.
Just 5 populations are likely to number over 1,000 lions - located in: Tanzania/Kenya (3); South Africa (1); Botswana/Zimbabwe (1). LionAid believes that 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.

West Africa lion on the verge of extinction
Western and central African lions are highly genetically distinct from their eastern and southern African counterparts - in fact analyses have shown that western and central African lions are more closely related to remaining lions in India. Their alarming decline has not received the highly dedicated corrective conservation attention needed from any major conservation agency. These lions could be extinct within the next 5 years, especially as they currently exist in small and highly isolated populations. Lions are thought to survive in just 5 West African countries, Benin, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal, and 2 in Central Africa, Cameroon & Democratic Republic of the Congo, having become extinct in Algeria, Cote d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Togo & Tunisia.


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