Lions Day Celebrated Amidst Declining Numbers

Lion’s Day was celebrated without addressing the reduced number of lions. The world celebrated Lion’s Day in style, remembering the essence of these not only big cats known for their strength and fierceness but also as commanding yet social animals.

These mane-covered lions are always seen in pride, treasuring and protecting their pride lives from any danger, whether it be from humans or fellow animals. Renowned as the “king of the jungle,” lions are at the top of the predator hierarchy and rarely stay in the jungle, preferring savannahs and woodlands.

Centuries ago, lions were numerous in comparison to the current numbers. There are now only about 20,000 left, a significant decrease from the 200,000-plus lions available in Africa a century ago. Lions have disappeared from 90% of their original habitat worldwide, with only a handful of them spread across the globe. They exist primarily in Southern and Eastern Africa, with a tiny population living in the Gir forest in India.

The reduction in numbers to almost extinction is mainly due to habitat loss and conflicts with local communities who compete over grazing land for livestock. These are the primary threats to carnivores. However, the loss of biodiversity in their habitat is not the only main threat that lions face. Some are hunted primarily for sport, while others are hunted for medicinal components.

Research has shown that they are sought after for their bones, which have recently been introduced as a substitute for the rarer tiger bone in Traditional Chinese Medicine. In 2017, a quota was placed on exporting lion bones out of South Africa, allowing for a set amount of body parts to be legally sold with a permit. However, this quota system is undermined by illegal poaching in neighboring countries, as most of the skeletons used in these transactions come from captive-bred or trophy-hunted lions.

Their extinction would result in the overpopulation of herbivores, considering the crucial role lions play in maintaining a balance in the population. The carnivore help stabilize the populations of herbivores like buffalos, impalas, and zebras. They also feed on the weakest members of a herd, helping to keep their prey’s population strong and healthy. Without lions, herbivores would increase in population and overgraze the natural foliage, depleting the health of their ecosystem.

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