With a population of just one million, East Africa’s lions are also the only carnivores on the continent.
Their habitat includes a vast expanse of rainforest, marshes and swamps, and their numbers have dropped precipitously over the past three decades.
But the region’s lions have managed to keep the population high, with some estimates suggesting that more than 100,000 live in the region.
They are now threatened by a range of human-related issues, such as hunting and poaching.
A team of conservationists led by Professor Daniel López-Romeu of the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa has found that the lion population has declined by 70 per cent since 1990.
He is also concerned that the lions have lost their social standing in the wild.
They may no longer be a part of their traditional hunting and eating habits, and are therefore more vulnerable to poaching.
They have also become more mobile, moving closer to humans, with the population in Mozambique falling from 9,000 in 1990 to fewer than 3,000 today.
The team found that in Mozartamae National Park, for instance, the lion’s population was declining in less than half a decade, from around 6,000 to less than 3.
“We were looking at how lions in Mozarta were adapting to a changing landscape, so we looked at lions in the park and they were still quite small,” said Professor Lóñez-Romesu.
“So we had to look at them from an evolutionary perspective.”
The research has been published in the journal Ecology Letters.
The lion’s decline in Mozarte, however, has been accompanied by other problems.
While the lion is now found only in Mozar, other species are thriving there.
It has also been reported that lions in a protected area of Mozarte have begun hunting and attacking other lions in an attempt to make up for lost territory.
The study also found that lions living in Mozarthia are suffering from more than 80 per cent of the lion-related diseases that are plaguing the population.
“The lion population is now in a very difficult situation,” said Dr. Daniel Lomé of the Institute of Animal and Plant Sciences of the Zoological Society of London.
“Their numbers have declined by 80 per per cent.
We are trying to keep them as low as possible and make sure they can still do the job of the lions of Africa.
We need to find ways to ensure that they have a safe place to live.”
In East Africa, there is an increasing number of people and projects in the area, including a park in Kibale, in the country’s east, where people have been raising the population and offering them food.
But while there is plenty of wildlife around, there has been little research into the lions’ living conditions.
“I think it’s very important to understand what lions in East Africa are facing and how they are coping with the challenges,” said Prof Lóza.
“If we don’t understand these issues and the impact they have on the lions, then it is very difficult to make any progress.”