In 2015, the death of the beloved lion Cecil brought international attention to the plight of this species. Overhunting, habitat loss, and human-wildlife conflict have caused lion numbers to drop from 200,000 to 20,000 in one century. To make matters worse, lion populations in West and Central Africa could fall by another 50% in the next 20 years.
Amidst all this negativity, we need to hear some positive news in order to remain hopeful (Blackmore, Underhill, McQuilkin, Leach, & Holmes, 2013). And now we have it. Scientists from the Oxford WildCRU have located a previously unknown population of lions in Ethiopia.
In addition, the researchers who made this find believe there could be additional lions in a nearby national park in Sudan. If correct, this would make for a total of 200 newly confirmed lions.
In the struggle to ensure a future for big cats, every victory should be savored. This story, along with other successes, shows that we are not fighting an impossible battle.