In what is being termed as a “most critical” situation in West Africa, lion populations have been found to be geographically left out from others, and are facing extinction. A new study has revealed that lions in Africa now occupy only 25% of their historical range. West African lions have disappeared from about percent of the range, with just about 400 animals left. Also, 88 percent of them are now in single population.
The study says that this is a “catastrophic collapse”. Before the survey, lions were believed to have been there in almost 21 different protected areas of West Africa. The shocking fact that has come out now is that they just remain in four of those.
The results have come as a complete shock; all but a few of the areas that were surveyed were basically paper parks, having neither management budgets nor patrol staff, and had lost all their lions and other iconic large mammals.
The researchers have zeroed in on five countries – Senegal, Nigeria and a single trans-frontier population on the shared borders of Benin, Niger and Burkina-Faso – where lions live. Large-scale plantations for cotton and food crops have contributed significantly to the decline of the lions in the last decade, the survey found.
This research funded by Panthera, a non-profit, was carried out in 17 countries over a period of six years.