"Kenya May Lose All Its Lions in 20 Years"

"NAIROBI -- Kenya's lion population could disappear altogether in the next 20 years because of climate change, habitat destruction, disease and conflict with humans, the country's wildlife authority said on Monday.

Lions are one of the so-called Big Five along with elephants, buffaloes, leopards and rhinos that are the major tourist attraction in Kenya's game parks.

Kenya, heavily reliant on tourist dollars, lost an average 100 lions in each of the last seven years; from 2,749 lions in 2002, to some 2,000 of the big cats now, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said.

'The trend of lion population decline is disturbing and every effort needs to be made to ensure that Kenya either stabilizes its population at the current 2000 lions or increases the numbers to an ecologically acceptable level,' KWS said in a statement."

Helen Nyambura-Mwaura reports for Reuters August 18, 2009.

Source: Reuters, 08/19/2009