WWF said the lion population has dropped by 43 percent in twenty years, a very bad news. On the other hand, if we consider the last hundred years, thirty thousand individuals remained in Africa today compared to two hundred thousand specimens in the early twentieth century.
Among the factors of the demographic decline is the destruction of the habitat due to climatic causes or by the hand of man, who expands their infrastructures to the detriment of their ecosystems. In recent years, however, there has also been an increase in the phenomenon of poaching, with the spread of the illegal trade in fur or parts of the body of this animal, used for Chinese medicine.
On World Lion Day, which is celebrated every year on August 10, WWF raises the alarm for the future of this iconic species, which has always been a symbol of strength and endurance. The reduction of lions in Africa, in fact, does not seem to stop and the most recent data shows that, in the last 20 years alone, the population has suffered a decline of 43%.
Lions live mainly in Africa and 90% of the population has been lost on this continent since the beginning of the century.
Population of lions on the brink of the abyss
Dereck and Beverly Joubert, husband and wife, started an initiative in 2013 with the National Geographic and Big Cat Initiative to protect the remaining lions that live in the wild.
IUCN classifies the species as vulnerable but in continuous decline in numbers. Among the main threats are the loss and degradation of the habitat, mainly caused by the increase of the human population and by the increasing diffusion of infrastructures, the decrease of some of its elective prey, the direct and indirect conflict with man, caused in first and foremost from predation to the detriment of domestic livestock, and poaching, also linked to the illegal trade in furs and other parts of the body.
Today it is estimated that the lion occupies only 10% of its original range. Lions are present in 27 African countries, but only in 7 of these there are populations with more than 1,000 individuals. The species, on the other hand, is now extinct in 26 states of its range of origin.