The lion is among Africa’s most iconic wildlife – right up there with elephants, rhinos and giraffes – and likewise one of the top predators of the continent. But despite its status among the most recognizable animals of the world’s, the lion has recently been losing its grasp on its realm that is historical. Habitat destruction, poaching and decreasing prey availability, bushmeat hunting have all taken their toll and new research suggests that their condition could not be even better than anticipated.
A study published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that lion populations are falling everywhere around the continent except in intensively managed areas in mainly Southern Africa. And unless their conservation efforts are stepped up by authorities in other places, it is just likely to get worse from here, the researchers say.