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Rule of African lions nearing end

The ?King of the Beasts? may not rule beyond this century unless urgent action is taken to protect remaining lion habitat and halt conflict between humans and the big cats, a leading conservationist said on Monday.

india Updated: Jan 10, 2006 14:04 IST
Reuters
Reuters
PTI

The ‘King of the Beasts’ may not rule beyond this century unless urgent action is taken to protect remaining lion habitat and halt conflict between humans and the big cats, a leading conservationist said on Monday.

“Lions have lost 80 per cent of their historic range in the last century and we don’t want the next century to be a repeat,” said Kristin Nowell, a member of the cat specialist group of the World Conservation Union, the world’s largest network of conservation groups.

Nowell was in Johannesburg for a six-day workshop devoted to strategies for lion conservation in southern and east Africa which began on Sunday. It follows a similar workshop in Cameroon in October on lions in west and central Africa.

Lions are considered to be threatened everywhere in Africa but are at particular risk in its densely populated west. Nowell said one of the key challenges was getting an accurate take on lion numbers and distribution.

She added that there were believed to be 34 lion range states in Africa and while exact numbers were patchy there was little doubt that the predator was doing far better in the east and south of the continent than elsewhere.

“The estimates are that there are between 23,000 to 40,000 lions in Africa. Of that, only 2,000 to 4,000 are in west and central Africa and the rest in are east and southern Africa.” Outside of Africa the only wild lion population is confined to the Gir forest in India.

First Published: Jan 10, 2006 14:04 IST