West African lions are in danger of becoming extinct. (Photo Credit: Google Images)
West African lions are in danger of becoming extinct. (Photo Credit: Google Images)

BBC News Africa is reporting that the lion in Africa is critically endangered. A new survey states that there has been a “catastrophic collapse” in the number of lions in West Africa. With only 250 mature lions of breeding age left, researchers are worried that the lion may become extinct in West Africa. The article reports:

“The research by Panthera, a non-profit organisation, was carried out in 17 countries, from Senegal to Nigeria, and took more than six years.

West African lions are genetically distinct from others in Africa.

In 2005, West African lions were believed to live in 21 different protected areas. But the survey, published in the scientific journal PLOS One, suggests lions now exist in just four of those sites.

The report says lions now roam in just 1.1% of their historic range in West Africa. The majority of their habitat has been converted for agricultural use, says Philipp Henschel, co-author of the report.”

The organization is calling for the lion to be listed as critically endangered in West Africa. While other parts of Africa (South Africa and East Africa) spend millions of dollars each year in conservation efforts to protect lions, many West African countries do not have the money to enact the same measures. Further, herders have poached the lions in protected areas in West Africa for the meat and have also killed lions in retaliation for human losses during poaching attempts.

Read more at BBC News Africa.

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