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Lions in Kenya Threatened with Extinction

They also appear in some family crests and national flags. The lion has been used to represent Kenya’s patriotism on its Coat of Arms.

Unfortunately, the dwindling figures of lions are appalling, and there are ongoing projects to find out the causes. 

John Waithaka, the Chair of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Board of Trustees and Director of Africa Protected Areas Congress (APAC), Kenya is losing 100 lions per year with the current lion population being estimated at less than 2,000. Dr.

Waithaka attributes the decline to various factors. He says:

Loss of habitat and biodiversity due to corruption, climate change, poverty and increased human population pose the greatest threat to conservation of wildlife, protected areas and the country’s ecosystem.

In 1900, the lion population in Africa was about one million and by the 1940s, the numbers had dropped to 500,000. In 1975, the continent had 200,000 lions, but in 1990 there were just 100,000.

More disturbing is that about 10 years later, the population had declined drastically to only 35,000. Today there are about 20,000, and that number is continuing to drop.

<img src="http://www.


000_w600_h600_e.jpg” /> Kenya Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013 lists the Lion as an endangered species.

[Photo: Harshil Gudka]

Bauer says:

We have known for a long time that lions are declining, but this is not just about less lions; it is about lions no longer playing a keystone role in functioning ecosystems. Lion trends are indicative of a deeper crisis that will eventually affect other less sensitive species.

As it is, they may also disappear in East Africa if governments do not take stern action to stop the decimation of wildlife and protected area.

Mr. Udoto added:

Other than being the symbol for national strength, they are among the Big Five, a major attraction for visitors to Kenya.

The trend of lion population decline is disturbing and every effort ne to be made to ensure that Kenya either stabilises its population at the current population of 2,000 lions or increases the numbers to an ecologically acceptable level.”

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jpg” /> Droughts and human encroachment on wildlife sanctuaries have pushed lions closer to waterholes located near to the human settlements.[Photo: Harshil Gudka/www.


“These declines are precipitous and will likely lead to functional extinction of many lion populations outside southern Africa,” says Matt Hayward, a researcher at England’s Bangor University.

Frank observes:

There is no doubt that the numbers are in freefall. I’d be surprised if they even last as long as 20 years.

When I first came here 30 years ago, you would always hear lions roaring across the rangelands at night and see their tracks in the morning. Now that is very rare.

The reason is simple, lions eat cattle, and as the numbers of people grow, the numbers of cows increase. Alongside that there are ever more efficient ways, including poisoning, to kill lions.

Mohawk, one of Kenya’s famous lions, had a shock of hair surrounding his head that made him quite noticeable and a favourite among tourists. With a dark brown mane which depicted his unconquerable soul and a powerful stride that oozed strength, there was no doubt that Cecil was the King of his territory.

Cecil and Mohawk were indeed the kings of the jungle in every way.

More humans also mean fewer large herbivores like water buffalo, and thus less food for lions. The decline of lions is mirrored by a decline in these large vegetarians.



jpg” /> <img style="max-width: 760px" src="http://www.mytravelx.


jpg” /> Lions are symbols of strength, power, majesty, and leadership. Photo Credit: Harshil Gudka

That’s because the governments of these countries are spending money to thwart poaching, and or the animals are protected in large fenced reserves, Frank says. If the decline of lions is to be thwarted elsewhere, it will take this kind of (expensive) approach, he adds.