Principle Threats

Pressures on land use from increasing human populations leading to continued fragmentation of the remaining suitable habitat coupled with indiscriminate killing in defense of life and livestock and prey base depletion are recognized as being the principle causes for their decline.


Trade in Lions

Trophy hunting of lions is currently prohibited (since 2001).

Number of wild source lions estimated in international trade, 1999-2008:             2
Average annual wild source trade as percent of population size*:                           <1%
* Used average of Chardonnet (2002) and Bauer & van der Merwe (2004) studies

Between 1999 and 2008, Niger exported eleven live lions: two wild source lions were exported to Nigeria for commercial purposes; two ranch-raised and three captive-bred lions were exported to Nigeria for zoo purposes; two captive-bred lions were exported to Togo for personal purposes; and two captive-bred lions were exported to Côte d'Ivoire for educational purposes. All exports originated in Niger. This means that at least two wild source lions were exported from Niger during the decade. Bauer et al. (2003) stated that, considering the small populations and their isolation, sustainable off-take in West Africa and Central Africa was “hardly possible”. Thus, it is of concern that 2 wild source lions were exported from Niger during the decade; this is 3 percent of the population (2 of 59). Annualized, these exports represent less than 1 percent of the population.

Place J, Flocken J, Travers W, Waterland S, Telecky T, Kennedy C, Goyenechea A (2011) Petition to list the African Lion (Panthera leo leo) as endangered pursuant to the US Endangered Species Act.  The International Fund for Animal Welfare, The Born Free Foundation, The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, Defenders of Wildlife (pdf)


Lions in Culture

“The people in the Tamou Wildlife Reserve have developed social rules in order to live in peaceful coexistence with lions. They have a saying which goes “It will be a major problem, if the lion vanishes”. “The villagers never hunt lions, fearing reprisal from the animals’ “spiritual beings”. They believe that the lion’s spiritual power pervades the village’s surroundings, and is a source of power for them. The lion is regarded as a “guardian animal”. The animal is a justice-maker and its presence is said to discourage outsiders from coming to steal cattle from Moli Haoussa… “The fuhaly of the sage-like lion, found in the animal’s parts, is said to cast a beneficial influence. So lion parts are used as ingredients of gris-gris, amulet thought to ward off evil. But the people of Moli Houssa obtain lion parts from only dead lion corpses found in the forest.” (html)


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