Reduce bushmeat consumption to protect West African lions — Organization tells Nigerians

Nigerians have been urged to shun illegal bushmeat consumption in order to protect lions and support better protection of their shrinking habitat.

Wild Africa Fund made the call in Lagos on Thursday, August 10. The organization also calls for championing anti-poaching measures.

Mr Kelechukwu Iruoma, Wild Africa Fund Nigeria Representative,
in a statement to mark World Lion Day said that only about 120 to 374 lions remained in West Africa currently, compared to Southern Africa, “where these majestic cats are generally well protected, maintaining stable populations.”

According to him, West African lions face extinction, losing 99 per cent of their historic range.

He said that beyond habitat loss, lions have s¥ffered a decline in prey species such as antelope due to bush meat trade and were frequently k#lled in retaliation for preying on livestock.

He added that the snares and tr@ps set for bush meat often inj¥red and k#lled lions.

He said that in Nigeria, the fewer than 50 lions left in the wild were found in Kainji Lake National Park and the Yankari Games Reserve, both in Northern Nigeria.

He noted that lions had disappeared completely in several West African countries, including Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Mali, and Sierra Leone.

“West African lions might disappear forever if we don’t urgently address the thr£ats they face. If we can protect their habitats more effectively, they could bounce back and boost our tourism.

Lions are perhaps the most iconic African animal and have massive cultural significance.

Their disappearance in West Africa would be tragic and squander an opportunity to foster wildlife tourism that has provided millions of jobs in East and Southern Africa,” Iruoma quoted Peter Knights, co-founder and CEO of Wild Africa Fund as saying.



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