National Geographic

@natgeo 2 weeks ago
Photo by @brentstirton | // Supported by Nat Geo Society/Wyss Campaign for Nature committed to protecting 30% of the planet by 2030. // I briefly photographed West African lions in Pendjari, Benin, for a story on @africanparksnetwork. These rare, endangered lions are very small in number, with only around 120 individuals, and amazingly they have more in common with Asiatic lions than with African lions. They were extremely shy; it took a lot of walking with telemetry before I was able to get close enough to make a halfway decent shot of this lovely female before she sprinted away. The second shot is of two Asiatic lions mating—really a picture of a conservation success story. These are the last lions outside of Africa, now only found inside Gir National Park in Gujarat, India. This small population of Asiatic lions was once as low as 117 animals before being successfully rebred to current numbers of around 650 lions in a 2017 census. The final shot is of a young Asiatic male drinking in Gir National Park. Both these groups remain extremely vulnerable. Disease, fire, human/wildlife conflict, and poaching could play havoc with the remaining numbers, and they need to be closely monitored. It’s a real tribute to Indian and Beninese conservation services that these animals survive today. Lions globally number less than 20,000. Loss of habitat and other factors have made them far more fragile than we realize. #campaignfornature #conservation #endangered #lions

Photo by @brentstirton | // Supported by Nat Geo Society/Wyss Campaign for Nature committed to protecting 30% of the planet by 2030. // I briefly photographed West African lions in Pendjari, Benin, for a story on @africanparksnetwork . These rare, endangered lions are very small in number, with only around 120 individuals, and amazingly they have more in common with Asiatic lions than with African lions. They were extremely shy; it took a lot of walking with telemetry before I was able to get close enough to make a halfway decent shot of this lovely female before she sprinted away. The second shot is of two Asiatic lions mating—really a picture of a conservation success story. These are the last lions outside of Africa, now only found inside Gir National Park in Gujarat, India. This small population of Asiatic lions was once as low as 117 animals before being successfully rebred to current numbers of around 650 lions in a 2017 census. The final shot is of a young Asiatic male drinking in Gir National Park. Both these groups remain extremely vulnerable. Disease, fire, human/wildlife conflict, and poaching could play havoc with the remaining numbers, and they need to be closely monitored. It’s a real tribute to Indian and Beninese conservation services that these animals survive today. Lions globally number less than 20,000. Loss of habitat and other factors have made them far more fragile than we realize. #campaignfornature #conservation #endangered #lions