The savannah and its lions are in serious danger !
of reading - words
The surface area of the African savannah
🌍has shrunk by 75% since the 1960s, and its lions are under serious threat. The rapid increase of the human population has led to overuse of the land, destroying the habitat of the king of animals. If he doesn't die tonight, the African lion is well on its way to the end of its life...
The lion's home gets smaller day after day.
Grassy savannah at the foot of the Ol Doinyo Lengai in Tanzania.
The savannah is often thought of as a wide expanse of wilderness, teeming with wildlife. The reality is quite different. The African savannah encompasses regions where it rains between 300 and 1,500 mm of water per year. With a surface area of about 13.5 million km² according to this definition, it is the main habitat of the African lion, the Panthera leo. But the rapid increase of the human population has led to serious changes in the wilderness. Deforestation and massive land use for agriculture have fragmented and degraded the lion's natural habitat.
In a study published in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation, a team from Duke University in North Carolina (USA) sounded the alarm. The African savannah has shrunk by 75 percent since the 1960s and more than two-thirds of the lion population has disappeared. "Only 25 percent of the savannah remains, an ecosystem that used to be one-third the size of the United States," says Stuart Pimm, one of the authors of the publication. In 1960, the African savannah was home to more than 100,000 lions. Today, the study found, only 32,000 lions remain.
Population growth over the past 50 years has completely disrupted the lions habitat 🦁. The African savannah had a surface area of 11.9 million km² with less than 25 inhabitants per km² in 1960. In 2000, this surface represented 2.2 million km²! The study also shows that the 32,000 lions live in 67 different regions. If this estimate is similar to that of the 1960s, only 10 of these regions are bastions of the species, in which between 24,000 and 28,000 lions live. Outside the refuges, the lions are threatened. It would thus be more than 6,000 lions that are currently in extreme danger !
The African lion is strongly threatened by the intrusion of Man in the savannah. The surface area of the natural habitat of the lions has decreased by 75% since the 1960s. The photo was taken in Namibia.
The savannah seen from Google Earth.
Google Earth provides high-resolution satellite images. Researchers have coupled satellite data with human and lion population density data. This has enabled them to map the areas where the lions are able to make their home under favourable conditions. Fieldwork was crucial to this study. Some areas are actually riddled with small fields that are not visible on satellite imagery. In addition, an international group of experts was set up to assess the density of lion populations.
While more than 6,000 lions are seriously threatened, it is mainly in East Africa that the species is endangered. According to the Duke University team, the next 10 years will be decisive for this savannah, both for the lions and for biodiversity 🌿. "A 75 per cent reduction in African savannah area is staggering and sinister. This underlines the urgency of conserving these habitats and animals such as lions," says biologist Thomas E. Lovejoy.
Axelle - Lion Republic writer.