Latest to be added to the list of animals who are slowly but surely losing ground amidst humans is the African lion. Multitudes of lions roamed the continent only fifty years ago in populations that equaled more than 100,000 members; now, researchers from Duke University have accomplished a study and determined that those numbers have shrunk by nearly 75%. That's a pretty long downward trend over only fifty years.

Only 32,000 lions remain in Africa. If that number seems low, it is, but it’s not nearly as dire when considering other important big cat populations, like wild tigers, which have dropped 97% in population over the last century, leaving only 3,000 remaining in the wild. Still, the study, which was published in the Biodiversity and Conservation journal this month, says lion populations will continue to dwindle, thanks to small populations that are also isolated. Small populations aren't the only problems lions are facing, however, there's also man to deal with.

According to The Huffington Post, as lion populations have dwindled, human populations have grown, constricting the areas lions have to roam. Additionally, over-hunting and poaching has contributed to the loss of lion populations, as well. As if matters could possibly get any worse, the study estimates that quite a bit of territory will be lost over the next 40 years, and where there is less territory, there are less lions. Conservative efforts will need to go into effect to maintain the current population; otherwise, we may see African lion populations nearing that of wild tigers sooner than today's numbers might imply.

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