Lion Numbers Plunge as African Wilderness Succumbs to Human Pressure

Only 32,000 Lions Remain out of 100,000 Roaming Africa in the 1960s

The king of the African savannah is in serious trouble because people are taking over the continent’s last patches of wilderness on unprecedented scale, according to a detailed study released this week.

A male lion feeds in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. The Kruger Park area is one of only ten strongholds left for lions in Africa. National Geographic photo by James P. Blair.

The most comprehensive assessment of lion (Panthera leo) numbers to date determined that Africa’s once-thriving savannahs are undergoing massive land-use conversion and burgeoning human population growth. The decline has had a significant impact on the lions that make their home in these savannahs; their numbers have dropped to as low as 32,000, down from hundreds of thousands estimated just 50 years ago.

The study, funded in part by the National Geographic Big Cats Initiative, was published online in this week’s journal Biodiversity and Conservation.

Some 24,000 of the continent’s remaining lions are primarily in 10 strongholds: 4 in East Africa and 6 in southern Africa, the researchers determined. Over 6,000 of the remaining lions are in populations of doubtful long-term viability. Lion populations in West and central Africa are the most acutely threatened, with many recent local extinctions, even in nominally protected areas.


Population size classes of all lion areas. Figure used in the research study ,courtesy of Stuart Pimm and other authors/”Biodiversity and Conservation” journal.


“These research results confirm the drastic loss of African savannah and the severe decline in the number of remaining lions,” said Big Cats Initiative (BCI) Grants Committee Chair Thomas E. Lovejoy, University Professor for Environmental Science & Public Policy at George Mason University and Biodiversity Chair of The Heinz Center. “Immediate and major action is required to save lion populations in Africa.”

“Immediate and major action is required to save lion populations in Africa.”

African savannahs are defined by the researchers as those areas that receive between 300 and 1500 mm (approximately 11 to 59 inches) of rain annually. “These savannahs conjure up visions of vast open plains,” said Stuart Pimm, co-author of the paper who holds the Chair of conservation at Duke University. “The reality is that from an original area a third larger than the continental United States, only 25 percent remains.” In comparison, 30 percent of the world’s original rain forests remain.

Lions in West Africa are at highest level of risk, Pimm and the other researchers found. “The lions in West Africa are essentially gone,” said Pimm. “Only a radical effort can save them at this stage.”

Stuart Pimm is also a member of the Big Cats Initiative Grants Committee and a regular blogger for National Geographic News Watch. We interview him here about the research released this week.

Your study found that the population of wild lions in Africa plunged by two-thirds in 50 years. What’s the methodology to determine the populations then and now?

Scientists estimated that 50 years ago, approximately 100,000 lions made their home in Africa’s iconic savannahs. This estimate was made using rough calculations of the size of remaining habitat and lion density. Our research suggests that lion populations have experienced a dramatic decline, and numbers have dropped to as low as 32,000 individuals. We compiled all of the most current available estimates of lion numbers and distribution – continent-wide reports, country-specific lion conservation strategies and action plans, and newly published lion population surveys. To fill in any gaps, we drew from the knowledge of the co-authors and colleagues working across Africa to conserve lions.

Lion cubs (Panthera leo) surround a patient lioness, nipping and playing, Londolozi private game reserve, South Africa. National Geographic photo by Chris Johns.

Counting carnivores is a tricky business. Individual identification is a tremendous challenge and requires high-resolution cameras or good, unobstructed views in person. They are often shy and cover large distances. Lions are difficult to count even though they are social and sleep most of the day. Only a very few lion populations are known at the individual level, such as Liuwa Plains National Park, Zambia. Individual recognition of every lion in an area requires intense study, significant resources, and low numbers of individuals. Therefore, researchers use a variety of other imperfect techniques to estimate lion population size in all other lion areas. Some more common estimation techniques include spoor tracking or call-up surveys.

What are the main causes of lion decline?

There is a variety of factors leading to lion decline across their range. One of the most important things we identified was habitat loss. People usually think of savannah Africa as being comprised of wilderness, vast open grasslands stretching to the horizon in all directions. However, our analysis showed that from an original area a third larger than the United States, only 25% remains. In comparison, 30% of the world’s original tropical rainforest remain. Most of this reduction has come in the last 50 years due to massive land-use conversion and burgeoning human population growth. Besides habitat loss, another major driver of decline is human-caused mortality. This includes poaching, retaliatory killing, and trophy hunting.

How many of the remaining 32,000 wild lions in Africa are in stable populations in viable habitat? Where are the strongholds?

Our analysis identified only 67 largely isolated areas across the entire African continent where lions might survive. Of these 67 areas, only 10 qualified as strongholds where lions have an excellent chance of survival. These strongholds are located across East and Southern Africa, but importantly no areas in West or Central Africa qualify. Unfortunately this means that for the remaining 32,000 wild lions in Africa, only approximately 24,000 are in populations that can be considered at all secure.  More than 5,000 lions are located in small, isolated populations, putting their immediate survival in doubt.

What’s the prognosis for wild lions? Extinction?

The drastic reduction in lion numbers and habitat highlighted by our research is certainly alarming from a conservation standpoint. Yet, African lions are not in immediate danger of extinction. Substantial lion populations exist in large, well-protected areas such as the Serengeti or Kruger ecosystem. Many of the remaining lion populations in East or Southern Africa are in well-protected areas such as national parks and game reserves (although some of these allow hunting). Nevertheless, this should not be used as a blanket statement; there are populations and even countries in these regions that have few or no lions remaining. Overall, lions in West and Central Africa are in the gravest danger of extinction. More than half of the populations vital to lion conservation in these regions (as noted by the IUCN) have been extirpated in the past five years, with several countries losing their lions entirely. According to our research, fewer than 500 lions remain in West Africa, scattered across eight isolated sites. This is of serious concern as these populations contain the most genetically unique lions in all of Africa and are most closely related to the Asiatic lion.

Why is it important that we try to sustain the survival of wild lions in Africa?

Large carnivores play valuable ecological roles in “top-down” structuring of the ecosystem. For instance, removal of lions may allow populations of mid-sized carnivores to explode which would have cascading impacts on other flora and fauna. From an ecological perspective, large carnivores are crucial for balanced, resilient systems. However, the lion is so much more than just the largest carnivore in Africa. It is a powerful cultural and political symbol. Attempting to list all the uses of lions in African proverbs, symbols, names etc. would be a nearly impossible task. Finally, lions are vital to the tourism trade, which in turn is economically critical for many African nations.

How does your study help conservation of the big cats?

You cannot protect what you do not know you have. This is a simple but true adage. Our compilation needed to occur in order to prioritize areas for conservation action. With a good map, numbers, and some understanding of connectivity between the lion areas, we now know which populations are threatened with extinction or conversely, which are well connected and well protected.

How is the National Geographic Big Cats Initiative helping the situation for lions?

The Big Cats Initiative has quickly become a major player in lion conservation. We have sent nearly U.S.$800,000 into the field of which nearly all is in Africa and over half is dedicated directly for lion conservation. However, we are not doing this alone. Other international organizations like Panthera also contribute. We have developed collaborations with these types of groups to identify and execute important work, and many BCI grantees have contributing funds from other organizations. However, because we focus on actual conservation efforts and not research, we fund many projects that do not have a chance elsewhere. We identify innovative projects that halt lion decline, bring them to global attention, and help them to increase in size. This stepwise process of giving start-up money and then escalating funds to increase scale is unique and the only way to meaningfully contribute to halting lion decline across large swaths of Africa.

We have two excellent examples of this process. The Anne Kent Taylor Fund operates in the Masai Mara region of Kenya. This program collaborates with locals to strengthen livestock corrals, or bomas. The boma fortification is so successful that demand is outstripping supply of chain link fencing and many locals are copycatting and experimenting with their own designs. This is the hallmark of a successful program.  Another fantastic operation is the African People & Wildlife Fund that works on the border of Tarangire National Park, in northern Tanzania. Their flagship activity is building stronger bomas, but they employ a large variety of tools and methods to interrupt the circle of retaliatory killing of cats. They work at all levels of the community from the schoolchildren to the leaders. Their long-term commitment is helping build a community that sees tangible benefits from preserving big cats, and a culture where retaliatory killing or poaching is unacceptable.


A lion pushes on through a gritty wind in the Nossob Riverbed, Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, South Africa. National Geographic photo by Chris Johns.


Research Paper: The size of savannah Africa: a lion’s (Panthera leo) view
Published online journal Biodiversity and Conservation: 2 December 2012

Abstract: We define African savannahs as being those areas that receive between 300 and 1,500 mm of rain annually. This broad definition encompasses a variety of habitats. Thus defined, savannahs comprise 13.5 million km2and encompass most of the present range of the African lion (Panthera leo). Dense human populations and extensive conversion of land to human use preclude use by lions. Using high-resolution satellite imagery and human population density data we define lion areas, places that likely have resident lion populations. In 1960, 11.9 million km2 of these savannahs had fewer than 25 people per km2. The comparable area shrank to 9.7 million km2 by 2000. Areas of savannah Africa with few people have shrunk considerably in the last 50 years and human population projections suggest they will likely shrink significantly in the next 40. The current extent of free-ranging lion populations is 3.4 million km2 or about 25 % of savannah area. Habitats across this area are fragmented; all available data indicate that between 32,000 and 35,000 free-ranging lions live in 67 lion areas. Although these numbers are similar to previous estimates, they are geographically more comprehensive. There is abundant evidence of widespread declines and local extinctions. Under the criteria we outline, ten lion areas qualify as lion strongholds: four in East Africa and six in Southern Africa. Approximately 24,000 lions are in strongholds, with an additional 4,000 in potential ones. However, over 6,000 lions are in populations of doubtful long-term viability. Lion populations in West and Central Africa are acutely threatened with many recent, local extinctions even in nominally protected areas.

Authors: Jason Riggio (1, 14), Andrew Jacobson (1, 14), Luke Dollar (1, 2, 14), Hans Bauer (3), Matthew Becker (4, 5), Amy Dickman (3), Paul Funston (6),  Rosemary Groom (7, 8),  Philipp Henschel (9), Hans de Iongh (10, 11),  Laly Lichtenfeld (12, 13) and Stuart Pimm (1, 14).  
(1) Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA
(2) Department of Biology, Pfeiffer University, Misenheimer, NC 28109, USA
(3) Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, University of Oxford, Recanati-Kaplan Centre, Tubney, OX13 5QL, UK
(4) Zambian Carnivore Programme, PO Box 80, Mfuwe, Zambia
(5) Department of Ecology, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717, USA
(6) Department of Nature Conservation, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa
(7) Department of Zoology, University of Johannesburg, PO Box 524, Auckland Park, 2006, South Africa
(8) African Wildlife Conservation Fund, 10564 NW 57th St., Doral, FL 33178, USA
(9) Panthera, 8 West 40th Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10018, USA
(10) Institute of Environmental Sciences, PO Box 9518, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
(11) Department Biology, Evolutionary Ecology Group, University of Antwerp, Groenenborgerlaan 171, 2020 Antwerpen, Belgium
(12) African People & Wildlife Fund, PO Box 624, Bernardsville, NJ 07924, USA
(13) Department of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511, USA
(14) National Geographic Society, Big Cats Initiative, Washington, DC, USA

12418031_10153900711084116_8462971761216697621_nDavid Braun is director of outreach with the digital and social media team illuminating the National Geographic Society’s explorer, science, and education programs.

He edits National Geographic Voices, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society’s mission and major initiatives. Contributors include grantees and Society partners, as well as universities, foundations, interest groups, and individuals dedicated to a sustainable world. More than 50,000 readers have participated in 10,000 conversations.

Braun also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship

Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn


  1. MACKE
    April 7, 7:17 am

    lions is not part of danger.

  2. urias
    1421 camelia
    January 19, 11:12 am

    I think that lion are good friends to have in are house the baby ones

  3. George1415
    United States
    August 29, 2016, 9:11 am

    A century ago British hunted great animals in Africa with long guns. Today the USA is doing it, see hunting magazines, big game hunting. The USA is following UK a century behind, and are living the colonist age. So many homes in Texas contain heads of animals hunted on the walls. Among them a few great animals are common to see. Ernest Hemingway, like most writers himself an adventurer, took trips to Africa and hunted great animals. Most animals killed by hunters in Africa have the heads stuffed locally before shipping them to the USA. With lions they typically stuff the whole animal and make it stand in a room like a frozen wild cat, a room surrounded by hunted animal heads on the walls. And the really expensive carpet under it, they collect their hunt this way. Meanwhile UK is no longer about hunting and long guns. They are Orwell. Which means in a century the USA will be Orwell. Today they are colonists with long guns, taking the heads to the US (typically to Texas) and feeding the rest of the animal to starving people in Africa. But how can they feed their local national animals to them? They say a giraffe feeds 150 people. Which is what remained of the We are the World song. In 10-20 years the Great Animal Kingdom vanishes including lions. Most great animals see five percent drop or more in their population each year. They feed chimps and gorillas to starving in Africa. And they blame Chinese quickly. In the past they blamed Russians. But in reality Texans hunt, won’t stop big game hunting or colonist rhetoric for long times to come, and just walk into their homes, and you will see even elephant heads on the wall there. Yes, elephant heads inside Texas homes, trophies, yes, in colonist age and bed that Americans reserve in their hunting magazines with tigers killed over and over and over in pictures by hunters when only 3000 of them remain. America.

  4. mangesh gaikwad
    india maharashtra
    July 22, 2016, 9:46 am

    I love lion the government started the project and protect lion and not decrease the forest and please I said in my hard SAVE the lion

  5. mangesh gaikwad
    India state maharastra
    July 22, 2016, 9:40 am

    firstly reason why lion are decrease becoz people not control population so that’s depreciate the forest and some people hunting the big cats so that very bad habit people. animal existence before the people and more entitled live in earth but people animal aggressive that’s thing I grief that the lion decrease I love lion plz SAVE lion

  6. milankumar
    February 6, 2016, 4:53 am

    Lion is would king of forest animal . and than it so any animal to it can lion for different types of neachar .
    I love lion so hard
    Aisya tik lion for India frome Gujarat Gir Lion national park
    My Home is Gir Forest near .
    Wow it amazing lion

  7. Russell Bowring
    September 21, 2015, 6:20 pm

    It’s hard to believe how stupid and fixated some people are. This report clearly identifies loss of habitat as the largest single cause of wildlife losses, yet many emotive readers still ignore the black and white of an extensive study to flog their favourite hobby horse – ‘Let’s blame it all on hunting’

    Until this emotive propaganda is extinguished, it will be difficult if not impossible to deal with the real causes of habitat loss and wildlife extinctions. First, we need to accept the real problem before any worthwhile solution can emerge. Try stopping development, for instance?

  8. Lee Gordon
    Renton, WA
    August 4, 2015, 8:21 pm

    Agree with many of you here… But I fear the battle against this slaughter is pointless. Powerful Americans of a certain demographic continue to feel entitled to your planet. They wantonly destroy whatever they covet. Their greed knows no bounds. Next come the Chinese. As we have seen, elephants and ivory are their target. These majestic creatures don’t stand a chance. Finally, a proposal backed by Bill Gates and several other powerful people is being put forth to “eletrify Africa”. What do you think this will do to one of the last remaining major wild regions on our besieged planet? These wondrous creatures don’t stand a chance in the face of we humans and our… “progress”.

  9. patti
    August 3, 2015, 1:20 am

    they need more protection when the lions are gone they are gone forever. Humans needs to stop the trophy hunts it is sick how greedy humans are. I want the lion and other animals to be on this planet for generations to come. stop the slaughter on these endanger animals.

  10. Steve Baarstad
    USA Washington st
    April 25, 2015, 5:07 pm

    I feel that it is our job our duty .to save and protect these majestic magnificent animals for generations to come.If we don’t make a stand now to protect these animals. in 25 years from now they could all be gone .the world would be a silent place without the roar of a lion .Save the big cats so cause an uproar

  11. Laura Anderson
    October 2, 2014, 11:59 am

    I am concerned about the poachers killing lions for their furs. I will help any way that I can to stop the poachers. Is there a number I can call to help? All animals are God’s creatures and nobody has a right to take them away.

  12. Travis
    United States
    September 30, 2014, 2:16 am

    Lion hunters should be killed.

  13. Travis
    United States
    September 30, 2014, 2:02 am

    You cannot protect what you do not know you have……. What??? Yea you can.They must have meant you cant protect all the lions unless you know how many there are or know what data you have of their population. Its not sad how hungry humans are for a prize. Its just stupid how people will kill animals for money or to have a trophy of an animals head on their wall.

  14. S.Mohan
    August 18, 2014, 10:01 pm

    More public education , more awareness and knowledge about the long term benefit of having this apex predator must go to Africans. Especially the younger generation. Then the urge to protect and preserve will begin.

    For trophy hunters , this is my message , what is to be brave to stand 100 m away and shooting the animal with your rifle? Big deal ? If you are man enough, fight them on their turf and see what happens. If shooting and taking photo makes you happy then something not right in your value system, probably your parents never taught the right stuff.

  15. Thendral
    July 15, 2014, 11:31 pm

    It’s disgusting how greed and anger can cloud human judgement. Trophy and retaliatory killings are the main reasons more than 50 percent of the lion population disappeared in 30 years. Out of 100, 000 wild lions, 32, 000 remain, several thousand in reservations, safe from the wrath of the wild and of humankind. In the United States, laws prevent animal cruelty, but is this not animal cruelty? The lion, the majestic king of the African savannah, perches precariously on the abyss of extinction, cowering from human-inflicted damage. This creature no longer roams freely amidst the ample African grassland, but it now hides its very existence in the corners of Africa that have not undergone massive land-use conversion and have not burgeoned with human population growth.

  16. Jada
    United States
    July 13, 2014, 9:46 pm

    The problem is the whole kill for a trophy. It’s sick. No animal is safe in this world from animal trophy hunters. Especially exotic animals like lions, tigers, pandas, apes, elephants, etc. it’s sad how hungry humans are for a prize.

  17. Shaikh Alli, H.
    July 11, 2014, 9:01 am

    Lions and the big cat group species are falling under endangered category. The growth is less. A common resurrective strategy in the world to be made and complied by all the countries with a national enforcement on the same. People should be diverted from the unethical trade by force or by counselling in all those countries and a universal tagging system should be implemented and enforced.

  18. mukesh singh
    Lucknow India
    May 25, 2014, 1:26 pm

    lovely picturing……….

  19. janasia
    New York,NY
    April 30, 2014, 10:41 am

    i think we should save lions cheetahs and more I love animals sooooo much!

    April 20, 2014, 7:22 pm

    Indeed d cats are an endangered animals. Another fact is dat their co dwellers (poor natives of those jungles) are more endangered due 2d embourgeoisement of d bourgeoning bourgeoises in d contralised urban hubs. y is us eating d meat, trophies d heads &hides of lions & expects to see d rare cats populate d jungles. Those dat make machandise of these products are already held spell bound economically. D rich should be held culpable 4d declining cats. we need2 cease only to theorise on issues that are stringent to d survive of other huminins who are by sheer fate are localised in dsame habitat with d beasts. Conversely, why not centralise our urban centres so that the wild be left for the cats to proliferate. provide jobs for all & let d aborigenes quit their ‘nefarious’ & ‘ludicrous’ economic activities. as long as d market for their games are open in d U S d rare cats will soon GO out of existence. d powers dat be should sanction U S to save d cats. in my habitat lions are killed for fear of attacks.

  21. Abhishek De
    March 31, 2014, 5:51 am

    very good not only for pic’s but knowledge also

  22. dave bausch
    laverne ca
    March 4, 2014, 9:42 am

    I say its so sad that people have no care in the world what happens 2 theses cats i say if a pocher gets caught killing any bigcats needs 2 be axapoll by putting them on tv live 2 show people this Will happen 2 them when they get chought killing any cats should be through in a cage whit a lion @ let them c what it feel like .??// so if I can help u guys out PLESCE do CONT me I love all the big cats if u got room 4 me 2 help u out down there . I’m in thanks godless u all …

  23. Glorious Nature
    November 7, 2013, 8:38 pm

    When in the Southeast United States, a visit to LION COUNTRY SAFARI in Florida is not to be missed. You can still see these magnificent creatures close up and roaming free at Lion Country Safari in Florida.

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    October 5, 2013, 6:48 am

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  25. surendra singh nagerkoti
    September 7, 2013, 12:05 am

    i think only lions no all animals protect us and trees beacause life surcel in said evry r importent,

  26. surendra singh nagerkoti
    September 6, 2013, 11:50 pm

    the african lions r very big cat in the world and good ,the american is good because he is protect evry live pertion, good , i like this mistion . thanks all ,becaouse this r very faithful ianimals

  27. Alexandre B Silva
    August 20, 2013, 10:35 pm

    Humans are so selfish and arrogant, we usually see ourselves above all creation, craftsmen of the enviroment and not part of it.
    Our specie kills and destroys in the name of vanity. What’s the point of having a “trophy”at home? To show to friends…is it some kind of desease, a twisted behaviour caused by a trauma?

  28. Chanchu
    August 16, 2013, 8:33 pm

    Not to start a heated ethnocentric argument here or anything, I feel obliged to point out that I, as a ‘native’, find the comments of Jan from Cincinnati (august 2nd) highly distasteful. It’s one of those typically well meaning suggestions born from the unsavory stereotyping of Africans as a bunch of hunger-ridden. impoverished and ultimately dimwitted tribalistic ‘Natives’ who don’t give a damn about their environment and need to be guided on how to do so by some other ‘race’ of people. It’s annoying, uncalled for and ludicrous, especially now, 50 years after the alleged end of colonialism.
    This depiction is as offensive as it’s inaccurate. I believe the operative technical term you’re looking for is Sustainable Development- the kind of development which meets the needs of today’s generation without compromising that of future generations. In the pure sense of the term no country or race or ethnic group is practicing sustainable development as it should. The threat on biodiversity is present EVERYWHERE, not exclusively in Africa. As such, it will take a concerted action to fight against this.
    1.Conservation and tourism, which you mentioned, are good examples of this.
    2. An adjustment of government policies to accommodate and promote sustainable development.
    3. A cooperation between African countries, communities etc. (decentralized cooperation or, simply put, teamwork).
    4. Cultural renaissance, because despite popular opinion Africans didn’t just spend their waking hours dancing around bonfires, wildly chanting primitive songs into the night as they cooked one another; they also developed an understanding of the world which for all intents and purposes could be a blueprint for sustainable development. With culture being the IDENTITY AND SOUL of a people (and whoever doesn’t believe this has clearly never heard of concepts like the ‘American Dream’ and the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ of America or ‘HaTikvah’ of Israel) it only makes sense that the first step is to return the soul to the Natives.
    5. Finally and most importantly, a syncretism of culture and sustainable development. I wish I had time to explain this but I don’t, so just look up the meaning of syncretism.
    (Hint: It has to do with aligning beliefs and/or philosophies.)

  29. Jan
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    August 2, 2013, 11:46 am

    Wallowing in sentimentality is not constructive. The harsh truth seems to be that there was the maximum number of species back when the earth was created, and we’ve been on a downward slope since then. Eventually, there will be no life left on earth. In the meantime, people take precedence over animals. (Don’t bother telling me that you sympathize more with the mighty beast than the poor, starving natilve.) The best solution was offered here before: educate the natives on how to use the wild creatures as a source of money. The problem is probably that fostering tourism or scientific studies (for pay) are long term projects, while payments for trophies are immediate. Encouraging long term goals is a function of civilization. But that seems to be the only realistic hope.

  30. Hailey
    July 24, 2013, 2:53 pm

    I think lions should have more land! i love lions. lets stop taking over there land ya? sounds like a fantastic idea to me!

  31. Caroline
    July 23, 2013, 3:30 pm

    Perhaps American trophy hunters should stop going to Africa and slaughtering them. As one particularly nauseating example, look at the Facebook page of one Aaron Neilson…he appears to have killed at least 6. Or look up Douglas Leech, who killed two in one day.

    Of the 600 lions murdered in Africa every year by trophy hunters, ~90% are brought to America to be stuffed and displayed in some idiot’s den.

    For this to be permitted, in this day and age, is vile and disgusting.

  32. Corey
    United States
    July 18, 2013, 10:34 pm

    July 18,2013,10:16 pm
    We need lions, along with all of Africa’s majestic and beautiful wildlife. They play an important role in nature by keeping the number of prey animals under control when they hunt them. Yes, to many of you sensitive people this may look cruel, but without predators, the prey’s numbers will grow too large and then eat themselves out of food and eventually, the whole ecosystem dies off! I sure don’t want that ever to happen in my lifetime. Also, I want to talk about illegal hunting of lions because this has risen to an unacceptable level. Just cause these guys have a rifle in their hands, it so doesn’t mean that they are the ULTIMATE predator, no way, no how! Without their precious weapons to protect them, poachers would never win against a pride of lions. Lions truly do rule the African plains and we want it to stay that way.

  33. karima pragg
    July 14, 2013, 2:38 pm

    How heartbreaking it would be if we have to say to future generations “there were big cats called lions who once roamed the African savannas.”

    The loss of this iconic ‘king of the jungle’ will definitely affect the ecosystem as the article says so we should do all that we can to reverse the declining numbers.

    While I do agree that economic hardships may be a driving factor for poaching – such as the demand for ivory from elephant tusks – activities such as these and trophy hunting should be more rigorously controlled. This, coupled with a decline in the demand for animal artifacts can slow the population decline. However I have little faith in this since human greed cannot be easily controlled or overcome.

    I do hope that the lion population, actually the big cat population in general, can recover so that future generations may enjoy the beauty of these animals and so that we can learn more about them.

  34. Karima Pragg
    July 14, 2013, 2:24 pm

    How unfortunate it would be if we have to say to future generations “there were big cats called lions who once roamed the earth.”

    It is crucial for the dwindling lion population, actually the big cat population in general (cheetahs, leopards etc), to be recovered since, as the article stated, the entire ecosystem can be critically affected by their loss. While I accept that economic hardships may drive poachers and hunters, such human activity should be more rigorously controlled. This, coupled with a decline in the demand for animal trophies – such as ivory from elephant tusks – can also put a dent in species extinction but I have little faith in this since human greed cannot be easily countered.

    I do hope that the big cat population and the populations of the animals on the endangered species list can recover because the species loss is a lamentable thought that these days, can unfortunately become reality.

  35. Norman Gozun
    July 6, 2013, 10:21 pm

    Please save the African lion from extinction people to see lions exticnt just like for Barbary lion is a exticnt subspecies of lions that roam North Africa people kill them for their hides and fun for game hunters. Lions are the second largerst cat in the world after the Siberian Tiger and the largest carnivore in Africa if we let the symbol of courage and strenght exticnt might some people become exticnt

  36. Susan
    Nairobi, Kenya
    June 26, 2013, 6:02 am

    Kenya is doing a great job in conserving these beautiful creatures, we even have a national park in our capital city.

  37. persons
    June 20, 2013, 12:25 pm

    hello peoples!!!!!!!!

  38. Martin Saigilu
    Arusha Tanzania
    June 16, 2013, 10:26 am

    Tanzania is wealthly in what we have tourism espacially national parks.

  39. Dominic Tagliavento
    Portlan, Oregon
    May 15, 2013, 3:58 pm

    The solution is not an easy one, as many of the Lion’s high population strong holds are economically poor Provinces and Municipalities where the demand for revenue from the enormous trophy fees that is charged by Africa and paid by trophy hunters is hard to pass up.

  40. thandokuhle
    April 25, 2013, 5:38 am

    lions are important creatures they shouldnt be murded

  41. scott
    April 11, 2013, 12:49 pm

    that is the most awsome lion ever

  42. Abdullah
    March 25, 2013, 5:46 am

    i think lion should be saved and should be taken care of since there are obviously the LARGEST CAT in the world they should b rescued

  43. Rob Howson
    March 24, 2013, 4:13 pm

    You mention what would aliens think if they visited earth. Better yet, what would humans think if aliens came to earth and did to us what we are doing to other species that we supposedly “share” this planet with. Would we be sympathetic to the aliens needs if it meant wiping out 50% of the human population. I think not. My how things look different when the shoe is on the other foot.

  44. ron
    March 20, 2013, 10:44 am


  45. Jemeca
    March 18, 2013, 1:53 am

    Cant even imagine my country and Africa as a whole without lions….. smh 🙁

  46. Marilyn
    March 1, 2013, 1:46 am

    what other animal has such beauty and majesty??
    I admire this great beast of the wild.

  47. omkar utture
    February 23, 2013, 1:29 am

    Dear human beings
    its a sincere request from me to kindly save the environment and the ecology. Already it has disturbed and if the same is contuned its not any one but we are going to face danger and our future gneration will be at peril. And the deveolped nations shall not carry any research and developments at the cost of environment because the same will be immitated by the developing and underdeveloped nation.

  48. K2
    February 14, 2013, 3:00 am

    Joanna, I totally agree. Money is the key to saving those majestic creatures. And that’s the only thing I’m putting myself through the ordeal of college for – to earn enough for lions and all those other animals that make our planet beautiful.

  49. Denise Gibson
    South Africa
    February 8, 2013, 12:14 pm

    It’s all about money these days. With government allowing an influx of people from other African countries, we are being over populated and the space for wild animals to live and breed has become scarce and what was lush forests and open savannas are now near deserts. Then they wonder why the lions are killing cattle to survive. I think that if aliens came to earth and saw the way we treat our animals and our planet they would leave in a hurry. Please remember that it is our job to look after our planets resources.

  50. tyler
    February 1, 2013, 9:09 am

    poste more fact about lions please realley need it

  51. cynthia
    New Jersey, USA
    January 28, 2013, 3:31 pm

    I absolutely love watching your shows on lions. They are big, beautiful animals. We must do our best to try and keep them alive. I think it is disgusting that there are people who go out and poach these poor animals, all for the sake of selling their hides/heads. Please stop the useless KILLING of God’s beautiful animals! There is too much violence in this world today and it must stop. We need these animals to survive so that future generations can enjoy seeing them, even if it is only on TV/Computer, etc. Remember, these are God’s creatures-LEAVE THEM ALONE!!!

  52. Laurel
    United States
    January 22, 2013, 8:43 am

    In the US we consider the available space for animals and then do all we can to keep the species alive and healthy. We have big cats here (not as big as lions) and we do all we can to live with them without allowing them to harm us. Why? Because, it is good for our economy. Wildlife generates tourism. Wildlife generates tax dollars for the people who love to live near them. Governments need to set aside and manage natural areas if they want to generate these dollars. They also need to educate their citizens so they can see the value as well. Then, they need to put up the money and laws to protect these areas. If we don’t have cooperation from the local governments, the only option is for the US to lease or purchase the land and police it ourselves.

  53. sindhu
    January 22, 2013, 12:49 am

    One of the biggest problems on this planet is the appallingly mindless population growth. Finally when all other life forms are rendered extinct, we will have to eat one another, because there will be nothing left. Our children will see all the beautiful creatures of Earth only in e-form and not in real life. Why are there not more people, of all the billions on earth, to realize the gravity and urgency of this situation?

  54. David Sseppuuya
    Kampala, Uganda
    January 21, 2013, 7:53 am

    The Creation story in the Bible, in Genesis 1 talks of God creating the animals of the land, ‘after which’ He created man, and then told man to look after he animals (as well as birds, fish, water, plants etc). The animals and the plants came ‘before’ man. Therefore it in man’s mandate to look after all these things, instead of destroying them.

  55. paulm
    January 15, 2013, 5:21 am

    Sadly Africa will b e just like any other country in the future with large populations business, roads, buildings, farms nature will be looked upon as just the bugs and birds of the world.
    It will the headline news when a new bug is discovered long gone the large mammals except for man but our time is coming!

    January 12, 2013, 2:43 pm


  57. Madison
    New Hamshire
    January 12, 2013, 12:56 pm

    the pictures are really cool!!!!! ( this was really helpfull!)

  58. Ducados
    January 9, 2013, 9:06 pm

    Hello there, I discovered your blog via Google while searching for a related subject, your website came up, it looks good. I have bookmarked to favourites|added to bookmarks.

  59. Neermal Goolabsingh
    TRINIDAD West Indies
    January 7, 2013, 5:14 pm

    Animal MAN is encroaching on Animals habitat I am old now in the 1960 s onwards I look froward to TV show National Geographic and appreciated what wild life has given our world living in harmony together with nature Will my grand children ever get to see these sites, There is Enough Space on our planet Earth to share with other living enteritides

  60. shawn campbell
    hartford ct
    January 2, 2013, 10:06 pm

    its a shame how those responsible for taking care of things fail to do so, how can the lions protect themselves from gun weilding men without concsience, i think also that the people of africa needs to be educated in how much responsibility they have been given by the creator to take care of a land as beautiful and rich as the continent of
    Africa, i watch as the rest of the world make the most of Africas resources and then selling it back to them in different ways, it angers me that they are so blind and cannot see.

  61. robert
    United States
    January 2, 2013, 11:18 am

    For the endangered lions and most other wildlife in Africa , the most durable solution would be a radical reduction of human population ..The factors of warfare ,anarchy. AIDS , Ebola , crocodiles, etc ..provide some help , but the population continues to expand ….Total deportation of indigenous population from the best wildlife habitat is another possible option ….Africa can only properly function with European colonial control.

  62. dimitar
    January 1, 2013, 6:12 pm

    African savannahs being those areas that receive between 300 and 1,500 mm of rain annually. This broad definition encompasses a variety of habitats. Thus defined, savannahs comprise 13.5 million km2and encompass most of the present range of the African lion (Panthera leo). Dense human populations and extensive conversion of land to human use preclude use by lions.

  63. bobo
    January 1, 2013, 3:03 pm


  64. bobo
    united states
    January 1, 2013, 3:02 pm

    lions are very dangerous the weigh arond 200 to 500 they eat gazzeles antelopes hyenas they cant eat a chetah boom bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbooooooooooooooooooyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

  65. Edward Rommel B. Brioso
    Manila, Philippines
    December 30, 2012, 6:33 pm

    Lions being the largest carnivore of the African Savannah plays a crucial role in the cycle of predation and competition and maintaining its ecological balance. Considered as a majestic hunter, but now estimated to number to just a few thousand. The Mayan Calendar maybe wrong about the end of the world, but the way humans are encroaching others species’ turf, destroying their habitat and contributing to the cause of ecological imbalance. It makes me think that Mayans may have missed on their calculation by just a few hundred years.

  66. Rene' Roland
    United States
    December 28, 2012, 3:23 pm

    i love lions and so does my daughter. If lions go extincted then I would die too! This website might and could teach us more. HELP SAVE LIONS. There used to be 100,000 lions in Africa, now there are only 32,000 lions. again, HELP SAVE LIONS. Help save us.

  67. Cheryl
    December 27, 2012, 1:02 am

    In addition to what we are doing to lions in Africa we are eating them here in the states. Please sign my petition to get the USDA to stop allowing lion meat to be served.
    The only way for us to help the lions from the USA is to support lion being listed as endangered and then we could no longer bring them in as trophies nor would we would be allowed to eat them.

  68. Harpreet
    December 26, 2012, 1:19 pm

    Lions should be protected just as some endangered species . Trophy hunting should be banned, lion awareness should be increased in rural ares where there is human animal conflict. I am willing to help in whatever ways are possible.

  69. G&G
    December 25, 2012, 7:33 am

    When ı watch and listen about leons program ı was shock they count 20000 now they must save us

  70. Al
    United States
    December 24, 2012, 2:51 pm

    The extinction of animals on the planet is a symptom of the chaos that reigns over all.
    Unless the Flying Spaghetti Monster step’s in and saves the planet most life on Earth is doomed.

  71. peter
    December 21, 2012, 5:37 pm

    It is already too late, the ever burgeoning human population is ensuring virtually all wildlife is on the road to decline and eventual extinction outside of captive populations, especially the predators and highly poached species. In 30 years of travelling within Africa’s bush I have never seen it so bad, the wilderness areas are under immense pressure, even the reserves and parks are not safe from grazing and charcoal producers but what can we expect when we do not properly support those African’s who are trying to prevent this. The final nail in the coffin is being hammered in now with the massive influx of Chinese across the whole of Africa. It is no co-incidence this has corresponded with a massive increase in poaching, it is very hard for poor locals to turn down payments of a years income or more in return for a small tusk, horn or pelt. This influx of Chinese migrants is nothing short of African colonisation all over again and the eventual cost will be the greatest continent on Earth for wildlife will be lost for ever.

  72. bonti
    December 21, 2012, 12:49 am

    The lions last roar!

  73. john
    December 18, 2012, 3:51 am

    I think the lions are endangered because of habitat is threatened

  74. john
    December 18, 2012, 3:48 am

    oh my god

  75. Joanna
    United States
    December 16, 2012, 7:47 pm

    I don’t understand why people can leave an reasonable amount of area for the lions tor roam instead of populating the area’s the lions live. Lions should not have to be in captivity or national parks areas. If people would just give them room, and not kill the lions, then maybe they can repopulate, and grow. I might not know much about the situation, but I know one thing. I always loved all Wild Cats including lions and do not want to see any animal extinct. I would like to help, but how can I with no money.

  76. Nathan
    New York
    December 16, 2012, 11:00 am

    We have to be honest- the decline in lions is not due only to human activity. In a National Geographic special it was mentioned that only one in five lion cubs survive to adulthood. Most are killed by male lions who want to mate with the mothers. Others are killed by elephants, hyenas, and disease. As the savannah areas shrink, the lion cubs come into more contact with their adversaries. Some thought has to be extended about the whole problem, not just the human element.

  77. Catherine Smegal
    United States
    December 13, 2012, 11:22 am

    Woe. What the heck are we doing to this poor, beautiful planet?

  78. Louise
    Cape Town
    December 10, 2012, 12:32 pm

    This is frightening – for starters Africa should perhaps put a halt to human immigration (we dont need the huge influx of Chinese setting up cheap business ALL OVER AFRICA – tough if China is overpopulated – I dont think we should have to take them!) Africa’spopulation is growing at a rapid rate as it is. In fact, this earth needs some sort of population control – mind you, earth is already starting to complain so this may not be a problem for too long!

  79. John Pfaff
    South Africa
    December 9, 2012, 11:39 am

    Hunting should be banned as they have done in Botswana as there are total idiots that just shoot for the fun of it and then place their photos o Facebook

  80. Lotasarwaki Ole Teveli
    December 9, 2012, 2:38 am

    The Maasai steppe along Tarangire and Manyara national parks holds a great number of lions in the country.The growing population of Maasai and increased human activities creates a blockade of Lion migration roots causing Human lion conflict in what came to be a retaliatory killing in that Lion are hunted down and killed whenever they attack livestock.In 2008 alone,15 lions were killed in Maasai steppe alone and Community concern foundation having a group of graduates have designed a projects to be undertaken from April 2013 that may totally combat Lion killing in Maasai steppe.we need ideas from professionals and collaboraters to undertake the through for more information.Lets keep the world sustainable

  81. Jackie Lee Jones
    United States
    December 9, 2012, 1:53 am

    Lions Nedd More for them to start a pride to raise their cubs.

  82. Jackie Lee Jones
    United States
    December 9, 2012, 1:50 am

    Protecting Lions

  83. Mike
    December 8, 2012, 6:35 pm

    So lions are not in immediate danger of extinction because they’re protected by various national parks. Are you kidding?!?! Do you not realize that these parks, if not literally fenced in, are surrounded by human habitation?!?! This forces the dispersal of natural prey, interruptions in migratory patterns of prey animals, inbreeding, disease, retaliatory killing, fear killing, and traditional hunting to name a few. If you don’t believe these animals are in immediate danger, you’re part of the problem.

  84. Deborah
    United States
    December 7, 2012, 12:42 pm

    The African lion population has declined by more than 50 percent in 30 years, with fewer than 35,000 lions estimated in the wild today. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will consider protecting the African lion under the Endangered Species Act. To comment on the proposed status change, visit the Born Free USA web site at for instructions and sample letters to submit comments.