I went on a few animal sites today, some of them are quite popular, and found this title all over the place. “Half of Africa’s lions may go extinct in 40 years”.
This is a new study published in the journal Ecology Letters and it says nearly half of the Africa’s lion populations could face extinction in the next 40 years if we don’t change the conservation measures.
They found that lion populations that were fenced into conservation areas rebounded in recent years, whereas lions in the wild were challenged by prey loss and human activities. There is a declining population of wild lions and human needs to start protecting the endangered wild African Lions.
The study is referring to the extinction of the endangered wild African Lions. So in 40 years time, all wild African lions would go extinct and the only lions left are the captivity ones.
This is really bad news and it reminds me of the mighty Barbary lion. They became extinct in the early 20th century when the last wild Barbary lion was shot in Atlas Mountains, Morocco.
Among all the lion subspecies, the Barbary lion is the largest and the heaviest and may be even the coolest. Back in the Roman period, they were used in the Coliseum to fight gladiators.
You can still see these lions alive in zoos, however they are only harbouring the remnants of Barbary Lion genes. And therefore they are not exactly the same lions that fought gladiators, genetically. I have seen a Barbary lion when I visited Port Lympne a while ago. This is a picture of how they look like in zoo:
Still, it is worrying to hear that the lion population is declining.
There are currently 8 lion subspecies:
West African lion
Northeast Congo lion
East African (Masai Lion)
Southwest African (Katanga Lion)
Southeast African lion (Transvaal lion)
Some of the subspecies like the Cape Lion and the Barbary Lion are already extinct and some other subspecies like Asiatic and West African lion are on the list of endangered lions.
I think this is quite a serious problem. I have been growing up with lion cartoons, lion soft toys and lion robots. Imagine if there are no more lions in the world. There would be no lion king. The lion soft toys would be under the extinction category. Do you really want your children or grand children to grow up in a world like that?