- Specific name: Panthera Leo
- Common name: Lion
Outside sub-Saharan Africa, the Lion formerly ranged from Northern Africa through Southwest Asia. Lions disappeared from most of these countries within the last 150 years. They also ranged into west Europe, where they became extinct almost 2,000 years ago. Now, Lions are almost all secluded to a large region in southern Africa. In the 1940's, lion populations estimated around 450,000. In total, their populations have decreased a total of 42% in only 21 years. Now, there are as little as 20,000 currently living and in 1996, lions were declared vulnerable by the IUCN.
What threatens this species?
One threat to lion species is climate change. In 1994 and 2001, experts say that lions underwent large distemper outbreaks that caused major die-offs. Researchers found that the key environmental factor in these epidemics was the occurrence of a severe drought caused by climate change. Specifically, as much as 30 percent of the lions in Serengeti National Park died from distemper.
Lions also face habitat loss caused by humans. As we continue to settle and build more buildings and roads, we are inhibiting Lion's habitats.
Lions also face the threat of human hunters. They are being killed in rituals of bravery, as hunting trophies, and for their perceived medicinal and magical powers by humans.
These threats cause the total population of lions to go down steadily over time.