Man wiping out the lion in the wild in Africa

The African lion is being pushed off the planet by humankind. Put it another way, it has been projected that within 40 years humankind will have wiped out the African lion, in the wild, if we carry on as we are. There simply hardly enough space left in Africa for the lion and the situation is rapidly deteriorating.  Its habitat has been decimated and utterly fragmented over the preceding hundred years. The rate of despoliation of habitat is accelerating.


Distribution today:

View Lion Range 2009 in a larger map

Historical distribution:

Historical African Lion Distribution

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Because of a much reduced habitat the lion sometimes wanders into human settlements such as the suburbs of Nairobi where rather than being captured and relocated they are shot. Why should the authorities shoot lions who walk into suburbia when they are so endangered? The answer is that there is nowhere to put them which is safe any more, so they’re simply shot instead.

Why and what?

So why is humankind pushing the lion off the planet in Africa? Well, it’s because of a human population explosion in sub-Saharan Africa which has led to growing competition with lions for land. Humans simply cannot control their breeding.  People complain about out of control feral cat breeding, well this is an example of humans doing the same thing but with a far more devastation effect.

It isn’t just about competition for land, though. There is poaching and farmers kill lions who kill their livestock because lions are forced to live on farmland because there is nowhere else for them to live.

In Africa, they have reached the bizarre situation where the money raised by a hunting lions helps to maintain reserves in which lions are protected. So you have to kill lions to save lions which I find utterly bizarre. It is the kind of human distortion and madness which seems to be accompanying wildlife conservation nowadays. There is still a thriving trade in canned lion hunting which devalues the lion. It becomes a commercial product to be used and abused.

Also, there is a gradual decimation of natural habitat because of commercial activity. You get more people who are more commercially active which creates a sort of double whammy against the survivability of the African lion. China is also very active Africa, fuelling increased commercial activity and I suspect poaching.

The number of African lions, in the wild, has dropped by more than 50% in the past three decades.  There are an estimated 30,000 remaining today.

About 70% of the remaining lions live in only 10 regions in southern and eastern Africa.  Lions in other regions such as West Africa have been almost wiped out.

In another bizarre twist of wildlife conservation, where lions thrive they face another threat from conservationists trying to protect other endangered species such as the rhino and a rare species of zebra. Lions kill rhino calves which threaten the species’ survival. As a result, conservationists are considering neutering male lions to stop them breeding! This is speciesism.

This is another almost ridiculous state of affairs and it does not address the underlying issue that rhino horn is a reason why the rhino is poached in Africa. Rhino horn is shipped out to China where it is eaten in order to give men a better erection! How mad does the world have to become before we wake up to what we are doing?

Silver Lining?

There’s an interesting and surprising benefit to the dire state of affairs regarding the African lion’s survival.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proposed listing lions under the American Endangered Species Act because analysts have warned that they are in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future.

“Demographers believe the human population in sub-Saharan Africa will double by 2050….Unless things improve lives will face extinction.  It’s up to us and not just the people of Africa to ensure that lions will continue to roam.” (Daniel Ashe director of USFWS)

If the African lion is listed as suggested it would make it illegal for Americans to kill or hunt captive lions without a permit or to sell lions or lion parts.

It will also become much harder for big-game hunters from America to import lion trophies from Africa. Hunters will have to prove that the lions had been killed in an area with a “scientifically sound” approach to managing lions. It is already illegal to import lion trophies into Australia.

This, at least, is to be welcomed because to be brutally honest the number of lions in the USA and the way they are shipped around and used and abused or kept in backyard zoo’s is not conducive to successful lion conservation. It totally undermines it, in fact, and I’m pleased that the US authorities have decided that they have to play their part in trying to remove the threat of extinction of the African lion.

The truth of the matter is that humankind has to decide whether it really does want to have lions living in the wild on the planet. Clearly, at present, that is not the case.  People are simply disinterested.  Big business and human population explosion and a disregard as to how that affects wildlife take precedence over everything.

Warning articles like this about impending extinction of species actually does very little to change the inevitable course which sadly is the foreseeable extinction of the African lion in the wild on the continent of Africa.

It is not just lions, rhino, elephant and other iconic species are equally threatened. The situation is becoming desperate.

4 thoughts on “Man wiping out the lion in the wild in Africa”

  1. I well remember and greatly miss a professor I had years ago – a gentlemanly man who possessed the most cultivated intellect of anyone I’ve ever known – known in person, that is. He was an Irishman raised in England, he looked like (can’t think of his name) the author of Angela’s Ashes (underlined), earned his degrees at Oxford, and was the embodiment of every refinement. Yet for all his courtesy and kindness, here’s something he said to once, and I never forgot it: ‘It is impossible to like most people.’

    Most everything you write is imbued with what comes across as an aversion for the human race. And of course it would pose a challenge to argue the dislike is undeserved. You often write of mankind’s ‘bizarre’ conduct, its ‘lack of interest,’ its ‘madness,’ and what you would ‘do’ to certain individuals if you ‘got them alone’ — or words to that effect.

    You’ve also written in past, I believe, that you’ve never loved anyone, with the exception of a young woman you knew decades ago. You’ve furthermore written that you wept more over the death of your cats than you did when your mother died.

    The other day I wrote to Ruthie that my mother’s death opened a door in my life to heaven-sent tranquility. That I’ve grieved for a year over the death of my boy (and little girl), but shed no more than a half dozen tears when my mother died. A contrast to the anguish she and her sister suffered when they lost their own mother.

    Yet I’m not sure that I view the human race as ‘impossible to like,’ ‘mad’ and ‘bizarre.’ I’m a conservationist, and hatred saps energy.

    Conversely, I can admire any number of people without the slightest urge to cultivate their friendship. An odd thing to say, perhaps, but at present I know all the people I want to know on a personal level, and weary at the prospect of knowing any more.

    Actually, I felt an affinity for Jo, and have nothing but admiration for Kevin & Leanne, two of my favorites. While I also admire the people on PoC who care for colonies of cats, after over five years I still remain chronically mystified to read how they cannot resist the urge to keep on adopting more cats. When they look at a cat, they see only its need and endearing little ways. When I look at a cat, saddled as I am with a prosaic mindset, I see the thousands of dollars that cat will cost over its lifetime in food and medical bills. Deeply and seriously wrong of me? I realize it is. But far as I can figure, my arithmetic is accurate, and I can only wonder at the prosperity of your regulars and visitors.

    But as to disliking the human race as a matter of principle, I’ve donated money to people who suffer – usually the ones in war-torn zones. One of my greatest heroes was Mother Teresa, who was – if you read her correspondence – a lifelong agnostic. As to deploring, however, what mankind has done to the planet, some of their enormities appear to be unavoidable. Canned hunts, trophy hunting, ‘milking’ bears for their bile, driving rhinos, tigers and elephants to extinction for their ivory and pseudo-medicinal ‘parts’ is worse than bad. Yet it’s equally true that some poachers are starving. Some farmers don’t know how to keep the wildlife away from their crops. Some people are mired in ignorance – genetic, or resulting from tragic circumstances. And millions of people multiply like hamsters, though some cultures are practicing birth control. China, they say, in another few years is going to have more oldsters than youngsters.

    Are there any answers?

    Headed out door. Inchoate ramblings, written in haste.

    • It is impossible to like most people.

      You are correct I do have an aversion for the human race but not individual people. I am mystified by how stupidly the human race as a whole behaves. It is chaotic. A complete lack of world coordination.

      In the case of the lion I hope you’ll forgive me for this human race aversion because as a species the human can behave terribly stupidly. I see too much stupidity and a lack an ability to do the right thing. The gradual extinction of the lion and tiger reflects a complete failure of humankind in relation to nature. David Attenborough described humankind as a disease! Even I haven’t written that but I agree.

      I have the ability to love individual humans but my aversion is towards the species of which I am member. If there was respect for all animals I would have a different opinion about humankind. My problem comes from the mass cruelty and abuse of animals. It is this primarily which colours my feelings towards humankind.

      I have an empathy towards animals that a lot of other people don’t have and I wish I didn’t have it because it makes life more difficult.

  2. So, the poor cats have nowhere to go because their habitat is being destroyed. And, when they intrude upon civilization, they’re shot.

    What other alternative exists but to ship them elsewhere? It may not be perfection, but it’s better than the fate they face where they are. I hate that it happens, but it has to be. At least some places are willing to take them. How many countries are willing to do that? Not many, I’m sure.

    And, the rhinos, for god’s sake! Supply the Chinese men with Viagra.

    • It is crazy. There is no where for them anymore. The lion needs large areas of open plain. It is all so tragic. In terms of conservation Africa is a disaster as is India in respect of the Bengal tiger and other wild cat species. The only way things can change is if we change and there is not a hint of that unsurprisingly.

      Note: the UK (Great Britain) destroyed all large wildlife centuries ago. We are ahead of the game so I’m not preaching.


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