'Everyone sees lions on safari in Africa...
they can't be dying out!'
The rapid decline in African lion numbers has been largely
overlooked by both the public and conservationists, because
lions are still easy to see in National Parks and game reserves,
where most of the remaining lions live.
'So if lions are still quite common in National Parks in Africa,
why is there a conservation crisis?'
Most protected areas are not large enough to ensure the long-term
survival of viable populations of lions. Lions need huge areas in which to hunt and only a few National Parks in Africa
are big enough to supply them.
This means that lions wander across park boundaries and into human-dominated areas
where they come into conflict with man, and are often killed.
Most National Parks are too widely separated to allow lions to move safely between them, and thus inbreeding is a growing concern for small populations
as it soon leads to genetic problems such as increased vulnerability to disease and poor reproduction.
Another problem is that disease
can spread much more quickly in a small population, potentially wiping out all individuals. In larger areas, some are likely to survive to repopulate after an epidemic. Further, political unrest or
war has completely wiped out wildlife in many African protected areas. It is therefore crucial to maintain lions and other wildlife outside parks and managed areas, which is why we focus on these critical human-dominated lands.