Lions have undergone a catastrophic decline and are on the brink of extinction in all but the largest and best managed national parks.
Just over a century ago, there were more than 200,000 wild lions living in Africa. Today, there are only about 20,000; lions are extinct in 26 African countries and have vanished from over 95 percent of their historic range. Though lions still exist in 28 African countries and one Asian country, only six countries are known to each contain more than 1,000 lions.
Lions are currently listed as "Vulnerable" on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. In West Africa, the species is now classified as "Critically Endangered.
The species is threatened by the illegal bushmeat trade, habitat loss and fragmentation, unsustainable trophy hunting, and conflict with local people due to the real or perceived threat lions pose to livestock.
Much has been made of the release of the new live-action remake of The Lion King and the opportunity that this presents to raise awareness around the threats that these African icons face. According a joint study by WildAid and Panthera, there are approximately 20,000 lions left on the African continent — that’s down from more than 200,000 lions 50 years ago.
Thats a scary figure which has prompted action aimed at doubling the number of lions in Africa by the year 2050.
#ProtectThePride, a global campaign to help recover Africa’s embattled lion populations. The campaign aims to bring attention to the crisis facing lions and other African wildlife while supporting on-the-ground conservation efforts through the Wildlife Conservation Network’s Lion Recovery Fund (LRF) and its partners, including Panthera.
So, on this World Lion Day, let us focus on how we can help to stop the loss, recover populations and unlock the value of lions to ensure their future.
Do you want to learn more and make a difference?
With our Hwange Lion Conservation Safari, Wild Eye in collaboration with Panthera will be giving 4 guests the opportunity to visit two locations in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park where, along with Panthera’s Dr Paul Funston and The Soft Foot Alliance’s Brent Stapelkamp, we aim to gain a deeper understanding of the threats which face wild Lion populations in the region.