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Lion Numbers Plunge as African Wilderness Succumbs to Human Pressure

The king of the African savannah is in serious trouble because people are taking over the continent’s last patches of wilderness on unprecedented scale, according to a detailed study released this week. The most comprehensive assessment of lion (Panthera leo) numbers to date determined that Africa’s once-thriving savannahs are undergoing massive land-use conversion and burgeoning human population growth. The decline has had a significant impact on the lions that make their home in these savannahs; their numbers have dropped to as low as 32,000, down from hundreds of thousands estimated just 50 years ago.