Study: African lion population shrinks to 32,000
By Juliet Eilperin, Published: December 4
The savannah habitat that sustains African lions has shrunk by 75 percent over the past half-century, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation, a dramatic loss that could threaten the species’ survival.
The new analysis by American, African and British researchers — which suggests the continent’s lion population has declined from 100,000 to roughly 32,000 over 50 years — provides a clear picture of where the animals now live and how major land-use changes and population growth have put them in jeopardy.
“It’s a shock,” said Duke University professor for conservation ecology Stuart Pimm, one of the paper’s co-authors. “Savannah Africa has been massively reduced. . . . As [people] moved in, lions have been hunted out.”