Lions in West Africa are now critically endangered. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Yathin S Krishnappa
A recent survey has suggested that there are only around 400 of the animals left in the entire region.
Conservationists have warned that lion populations in West Africa have suffered a "catastrophic collapse" and that the entire population now numbers in the low hundreds. The research was carried out across 17 countries over the course of six years.
"Our results came as a complete shock; all but a few of the areas we surveyed were basically paper parks, having neither management budgets nor patrol staff, and had lost all their lions and other iconic large mammals," said report co-author Philipp Henschel.
The lions in West Africa are genetically different to the lions spread across other parts of the continent and have been mostly neglected by conservation efforts. A lot of their habitat has been converted for agricultural purposes and they now roam just one percent of the area they once dominated.
"In some areas, we also witnessed the retaliatory killing of lions by herdsmen that entered protected areas illegally with their herds of cattle and goats," said Henschel. "We are talking about some of the poorest counties in the world - many governments have bigger problems than protecting lions."
Source: BBC News | Comments (18)