The Straits Times
Published on Dec 05, 2012

Africa's vanishing savannahs threaten lions: Study


WASHINGTON (AFP) - Africa's savannahs, and the lions that have found their home there, are disappearing at an alarming rate, plummeting two thirds over the past 50 years, a study found Tuesday.

Using new satellite data, Duke University researchers estimated that as few as 32,000 lions now live on the continent's savannahs, down from nearly 100,000 in 1960.

The declines were particularly dire in West Africa, where human populations have doubled over the past three decades, according to the study published in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation. It said fewer than 500 lions remain in the region.

"Only 25 per cent remains of an ecosystem that once was a third larger than the continental United States," said Stuart Pimm of Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment.