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The situation for the lions of West Africa is dire – it is one of the most endangered species of the big cats and is heading towards extinction.
A recent research study conducted over six years across 17 countries found that barely 400 lions remained in West Africa, with no more than 250 breeding adults.
Instead of the 21 lion populations they expected to find across the region, the researchers discovered that just four populations remained and that three of these contained fewer than 50 lions. For example, only 16 lions remain in the Niokolo-Koba National Park in Senegal.
In order to save it from extinction, the West African lion needs to be recognised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a separate subspecies of lion. Recent genetic research indicates that the West African lion maybe more related to Asian lions than to lions from Southern or Eastern Africa.
The West African lion also needs to be immediately relisted as critically endangered (it's currently listed as endangered). If it is listed as critically endangered, it can then attract the required resources from the international community to ensure that it does not slip into extinction.
The world does not want to see another species die out – there is no known captive West African lion breeding program in operation. Please sign and share this petition to demand that the IUCN recognises the West African lion as a separate subspecies and relists it as critically endangered.