Development Threatens African Lions

Savannah diminished by 75 percent

Ryan O'Hanlon

A new study warns that populations of African lions are in danger of becoming extinct due to human development. Satellite data, studied by researchers at Duke University, show that about 75 percent of Africa’s open savannah has disappeared in the last 50 years, given over to farming or settlement. Over that same period, lion populations have dropped by two-thirds to as few as 32,000. According to the study, African lions are now divided up into 67 different areas, only 10 of which are well-protected. The researchers say that somewhere around 6,000 lions are currently living in populations at high risk of extinction. (Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service announced that it is considering adding lions to the endangered species list.) The problem is most acute in western Africa, where the human population has doubled or tripled over the past few decades, and the lion population has dropped to below 500.

Via The Guardian