The magnificent lion has captured our imaginations for centuries, but disease, loss of habitat and other general human nastiness has decimated the lion populations in Africa. Where there was once around 400,000 lions just 60 years ago, today there are only an estimated 16,500 – 47,000 lions left and every generation that number drops by anywhere from 30-50 percent.
Image from IUCN
The ICUN has listed lions as a vulnerable species since 1996 and their map shows where lions currently exist (orange) or are thought to exist (yellow), a reduction of 78 percent from their historic range. According to their research, the biggest threat to lions is indiscriminate killing, usually as humans try to protect their livestock, and the loss of prey to hunt.
The news isn’t all bad, though lions populations continue to decrease. In some areas, protected areas provide lions with a safe place to live. There are also several conservations programs in place to help reduce lion to human conflict and to protect prey and habitat. But unless we learn to