August 17, 2009

Lions At Risk Of Becoming Extinct In Two Decades

The Kenya Wildlife Service announced Monday that Kenya's lion population has dropped an average of 100 lions a year since 2002, which could mean the big cats might become extinct in two decades.

The organization's spokesman Paul Udoto told AFP that cattle herders who kill lions in retaliation for attacks on their stock have been blamed for a big chunk of the decline.

Udoto said that habitat destruction, disease and the rising human population has also played a role in dropping the lion population from 2,749 seven years ago to the current figure of 2,000.

"We need to take measures to stabilize that number at 2,000 or increase it," he explained. "Communities are the largest threat to the lions and other cats."

Udoto also said that educating people on the behavior and importance of the cats to tourist is a priority among other ways to help save the creature.

Tourism is a key foreign exchange earner that relies on Kenya's renowned wildlife safaris and sun-drenched Indian Ocean beaches.


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