Once found all over, the continent of Africa, the lion population is now confined to a few areas in eastern and southern Africa
The world’s most iconic cat is in trouble. The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has asked for African lions to be listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. This will help protect the lions from extinction.
The African lion population, in 1980, was predicted to be 75,800, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). That number has dropped by 30%. The Fish and Wildlife service adds that about 70% of all lion populations inhabit just 10 areas in eastern and southern Africa.
“Unless things improve, the lions will face extinction,” says Daniel Ashe, director of the USFWS.
Homes at Risk
The USFWS lists the main threats to the big cats as loss of habitat, lack of prey, and more conflicts with humans. Over time, more humans have moved into areas inhabited by lions. Experts believe human population in sub-Saharan Africa will double by 2050, making the problem worse.
By listing the species as endangered, the USFWS said it could help lions.
Mr Ashe, the USFWS director, says the agency wants to protect the endangered animals as much as possible.
“It is up to all of us, not just the people of Africa, to ensure that healthy, wild populations continue to roam the savannah for generations to come,” he said.
Wildlife expert Jane Goodall terms the suggested listing “excellent news.” She says people were not aware of the decline because they see the animals in parks.
“I hope that the proposed listing will be approved,” Goodall told the Washington Post. “How terrible to lose the ‘king of beasts’ from the African scene.”
Source: Time For Kids