Silver Lining for Lions of West Africa (Panthera)

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It was recently reported that there are less than 400 wild lions in West Africa. In this story, Panthera talks about a possible “silver lining” for this critically endangered species. The Silver Lining for the Lions of West Africa was originally published at Panthera.org on February 13, 2014.

PANTHERA: In a press release published last month, Panthera outlined the results of a new report confirming that lions are now Critically Endangered and face extinction across the entire region of West Africa.

Led by Panthera’s Lion Program Survey Coordinator, Dr. Philipp Henschel, the study required a massive survey effort extending across 21 parks and 11 countries over a six year period. The results, unfortunately, are somber: today fewer than 400 lions remain in four isolated populations in West Africa, with only 250 of these being breeding adult lions.

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New Study – West African Lion Population Under 400

West African Lion Facing Extinction

According to a new study funded by Panthera and National Geographic’s Big Cat Initiative, there are less than 400 lions in West Africa. Of the remaining lions, an estimated 250 are of breeding age.

“The situation is most critical for the geographically isolated populations in West Africa, where the species is considered regionally endangered.”

Field studies were conducted in 13 large areas where the lions are protected to establish the presence and size of any populations. Another eight areas were evaluated based on interviews and existing data.

Most of the data that was compiled came from track surveys, in which lions were tracked by following their footprints.

The report states that lions in West Africa have undergone a “catastrophic collapse.”  They have lost more that 99% of their historic range, with 88% of the current population (approximately 350 lions) living in one single population.

You can read the study here.

Photo Credit: Cubinnigeria Philipphenschel Panthera

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