There are two distinct populations of lion, the African lion (Panthera leo leo) and the Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica). The IUCN1 Red List, which lists all rare species of animals, classes the African lion as ‘Vulnerable’ meaning it ‘faces a high risk of extinction’, and the West African subpopulation as ‘Critically Endangered’. The African population is estimated to have declined by 43% between 1993-2014, and is now thought to consist of as few as 20,000 individuals. West, Central and East Africa have experienced a 60% or greater decline, and only around 400 lions persist across the whole of West Africa.
The Asiatic lion is classified as as ‘Endangered’ and ‘faces a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future’. Less than 500 Asiatic lions cling on in a single population in the Indian State of Gujarat.
1940's - 450,000
1980 – 100,000
2015 – 20,000, IUCN status ‘Vulnerable’
African lion - Appendix II
Asiatic lion - Appendix I