Thursday, August 2, 2012

How to help save endangered lions?

Lions are heading towards being listed as endangered species. A century ago Africa had more than 200,000 lions living in wild, but with the ongoing shrinking of their habitats their number has reduced to mere 30,000 today.

Lions are already listed as 'vulnerable' by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and many environmentalists fear that lions may soon join their cousins tigers as one of the officially endangered species.
Both tigers and lions have the same problem causing the decline of their population- humans, or to be more precise they have less area to roam because humans are occupying many of their former habitats.

The experts have calculated that humans have in the last 100 years drove lions away from the approximately 80% of their previous habitats. Lions may be kings of animals, but their noble status mean very little to humans who continue to shrink their habitats.

The additional problem together with habitat loss is that the remaining populations are often geographically isolated from one another, which can lead to inbreeding, and reduced genetic diversity, resulting in further decline in species.

The best way to protect lions from extinction is to create more protected areas for them, areas on which they can freely roam without interference from humans. This is where African governments should step in, and fund the creation of new animal reserves.

Sadly, the African governments alone cannot raise sufficient funds to create these reserves. The rich western world should help Africa save lions from extinction by providing the necessary funds. 

Some environmentalists believe that even tourism can be of great help in lion conservation efforts. If African governments were to create more protected areas then tourists could enjoy classic walking safaris in these reserves, and the money they would spend could be used to fund costs connected with these reserves. Of course, this only under the condition that these tourists do not interfere too much with the lion's way of life, meaning that everything has to be done under the strict guidance of professionals.

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