Simply put, The lions need us. More specifically, the West African Sub-species needs us. Desperately. It is estimated that less than 250 mature males exist in 17 countries from Senegal to Nigeria and they are continuing to decline rapidly.
Help Save this Beautiful Creature
Here is a map from PLOS One that illustrates the current presence of lion populations in West Africa.
- At this very point in time, these genetically unique lions have lost 99% of their historic range due to land conversions for cotton plantations and crop farms
- A steep decline in prey populations resulting from unsustainable hunting and poaching
- Human and lion conflict
- Lack of funding for governments to maintain protective areas
The majority of this comes down to a lack of funding. Most of these West African nations are in the midst of extreme poverty and have zero funds to contribute to the conversation of these precious animals. Still though, for most of these countries, lions are held in the highest regard. They are a symbol of pride and appear on several countries’ coats of arms. In order for this subspecies to dodge extinction, the international community must step up.
African wildlife is the continent’s most precious natural resource. Protection of the wildlife, particularly the endangered species, is key to many African nations rising from poverty and becoming economically independent. The potential income from promotion and tourism that stands to be gained from the global interest in seeing lions and other wildlife will go a long way to provide funds for many causes, including education, health and infrastructure development, just to name a few. These beautiful lions are the face of African wildlife and deserved to be helped.
As always, when trying to make a difference, there must be a call to action. We along with the international community can do so much to help with this effort. You can donate at Panthera or simply share this post to help create awareness!