Distribution & Status

Photo: Marcus Westberg

Lions once roamed from Europe to the southern tip of Africa, and from West Africa all the way to India. Today, that distribution has been dramatically reduced to just 8% of their historic range. Populations are now restricted to pockets of sub-Saharan Africa (and a relict small population in northern India).

Within Africa, the species has suffered a steep decline in both range and numbers. One century ago there were 200,000 lions, today there are likely just over 20,000. In the last quarter century, lion numbers have declined by half. 

Southern and East African lions are listed as being Vulnerable according to the IUCN Red List, though the West African sub-species is considered to be Critically Endangered.