Skip to main content

Lions face many threats

African lion numbers are thought to have declined by over 40% in the just three generations. 

The main threats are retaliatory or preemptive killing to protect people and livestock, and decreasing natural prey and habitat (for example, due to expanding human settlements and therefore less available grazing). 

When their natural prey is scarce, lions can cause grave losses to livestock, which can destroy the income of local people. 

Climate change is another increasing threat – extreme weather may cause more droughts or delay the rains, affecting lions’ prey. 

They’re also killed for the illegal wildlife trade. In recent years, the demand for lion bone as a substitute for tiger bone in traditional Asian medicine has risen. 

Watch our YouTube video about Lions



WWF’s work

We’re helping to establish and improve protected areas of habitat in east Africa, and work with communities to support the development of ‘conservancies’; community land that is unfenced and protected for wildlife, in return for income (for example, tourist lodges give communities money to be able to show tourists the amazing species that live on their land). 

We support the Mara Predator Conservation Programme (MPCP) in Kenya, which monitors and protects lions and educates local people on lion conservation. This includes engaging with local communities such as anti-poisoning campaigns, providing better livestock enclosures, and taking school children on trips to see the wildlife they’re protecting. 

With partners, we’re supporting the first ever national lion census in Kenya – using a survey technique developed by MPCP - to determine how many lions live here and how best to safeguard them. 

But we couldn’t do this without your support.

Adopt an animal