The savannah habitat that sustains African lions has shrunk by 75 percent over the past half-century, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation, a dramatic loss that could threaten the species’ survival.
The new analysis by American, African and British researchers — which suggests the continent’s lion population has declined from 100,000 to roughly 32,000 over 50 years — provides a clear picture of where the animals now live and how major land-use changes and population growth have put them in jeopardy.
“It’s a shock,” said Duke University professor for conservation ecology Stuart Pimm, one of the paper’s co-authors. “Savannah Africa has been massively reduced. . . . As moved in, lions have been hunted out.”
The findings come just one week after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it will study whether African lions should be listed under the Endangered Species Act, a move that would end the importation of trophies into the United States. Several groups petitioned the agency last year to list the species, though some conservationists argue trophy hunting provides a source of revenue to local communities, which helps keep savannah habitat intact.
They don't have the innate ability to fear and run like a prey species. It's sickening they are hunted for sport. They are also tainting meats with poisons for lions to eat over there. Just sad. It doesn't look good for the African Lion.