World, Africa

Lion numbers dwindle in Africa, rise in Kenya

As Africa records low lion populations, lion numbers in Kenya on the rise due to anti-poaching and other conservation measures

Andrew Wasike   | 11.08.2021
Lion numbers dwindle in Africa, rise in Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya

Kenya has seen a 25% rise in the number of lions since the 2010 census, Kenya’s tourism and wildlife minister said at a ceremony in the capital Nairobi Wednesday.

“In 1900 we had almost 1 million lions all over the world, and today the numbers have gone down,” Najib Balala told reporters.

In contrast, he added: “In Kenya we have slightly over 2,500 lions according to the latest census, and these lions need to be protected, so this is a celebration not only to raise profile (of this issue) but also to fundraise.”

Beatrice Karanja-Shah, a donor at the ceremony, called on Kenyans to step in and help the Wildlife Ministry and the government protect lions.

“It is up to us to protect these lions, to protect these iconic species, it is on our coat of arms, it is part of our DNA,” she said.

“We are losing lions because of habitat loss, because of illegal wildlife trade, so we really need to come together … to protect these iconic species.”

Africa's lion population is dwindling, Edith Kabesiime, the wildlife campaign manager of World Animal Protection, said, marking the occasion of Aug. 10 World Lions Day.

Many lions are killed due to habitat loss, land fragmentation, wildlife trade, poaching, and human conflict, she said.

Kabesiime urged countries to quickly take bold steps by passing and implementing tough laws with harsh punishment for those involved in the illegal wildlife trade.

Balala, for his part, said that there are three major challenges facing lions in Kenya – space to roam, disease, and appropriate food – adding, “if we don’t have the circle of the small game available for the lions, then that becomes an issue.”

Balala said that the lion population in Kenya might not be that big, “but it is constant, it is growing because of the protection and mitigation measures which have been put in place by the government.”​​​​​​​

11.08.2021

Lion numbers in Kenya increase 25 percent since 2010

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