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African Symbol Facing Extinction

Lion population down almost 90 per cent from two decades ago.

In the minds of many people, the lion is what comes to mind first when they think of African wildlife. The sad fact is, the 'king of beasts' may not be found in Africa for much longer.

Dr. Laurence Frank, a wildlife biologist from the University of California, says that based on a study he did in Kenya, the current population of lions is 23,000. Twenty years ago, it was close to 200,000.

Frank says "People know about elephants, gorillas and rhinos, but they seem blissfully unaware that these large carnivores are nearing the brink. It's not just lions. Populations of all African predators are plummeting."

Dr Frank blamed the decline in predator numbers on a problem that occurs world wide, not just in Africa. People killing them to protect livestock.

"People have always killed predators," he says. "But there's only so much damage you can do with spears and shields. Now everyone has got rifles and poisons."