This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Lions Face Extinction in Nigeria, Says Report

London — A new report released this week in London indicated that various species of lions in Nigeria and other countries in West Africa face increasing decline and are most probably on the verge of extinction in few years if nothing is done to redress the ugly trend.

LionAid, a London-based conservative organisation, said at least about 645 lions are left within the Western and Central Africa axis.

The report observed that there have been tremendous decline of lions in 25 African countries where they are believed to be living.

Out of these countries, lions are extinct in 10 countries in the continent, with only 15,000 lions still in existence.

The figure shows an astronomical decline from 200,000 lions living 30 years ago.

According to the Trustee of LionAid, Dr Pieter Kat, "There has been a catastrophic decline in the populations of lions in Africa, and particularly west Africa. These lions have been neglected for a very long time and do not have adequate protection programmes. They are in real danger of extinction."

He explained that, "even though the national parks in West Africa contain very distinct and very important fauna compared to Eastern Africa, people tend to ignore that West Africa is a very special place, as a result, the population in west Africa is declining so quickly.

"As a biologist, I would say that in a country like Nigeria, which has only 34 lions left, they are already extinct. It's almost impossible to build up a population from such a small number."

In Nigeria, the figures indicated that out of 44 lions in 2009, the number has nosedived to 34 lions in 2012, raising concerns about possible extinction in the near future.

The report also maintained that between 1999 and 2008, about 5600 lions were either exported or hunted as trophies, a situation that has pitched conservative activists against governments in Africa, with the former accusing government officials of doing less to protect wild animals from extinction.

Also, the report is coming on the heels of another research on Africa's wildlife carried out by the Duke University, US through satellite where it was discovered that a considerate number of wildlife species on the continent have been depleted without much government protection.

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