This Sad Map Shows Where Lions Used to Live (Red) and Where They Remain Today (Blue)

Male lion laying on a rock, female lion visible behind him

Todd Ryburn Photography / Getty Images

A king without a kingdom...

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has been labelling the iconic lion as 'vulnerable' since 1996. Various estimates show that populations have been going down by about 30–50% over each 20-year period of the second half of the 20th century. Starting with a population of around 400,000 in 1950, lions are now down to around 16,500-47,000 living in the wild based on estimates from 2002–2004 (certainly less than that now).

What's happening? Mostly habitat loss and conflicts with humans, as well as some disease outbreaks.

Map showing the historic and present distribution of lions across Africa, the Middle East, and parts of India
Tommyknocker / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

The best way to illustrate just how much things have changed for lions is with the map above. The red areas show the species' historic range, while the blue areas show where they can be found today... Sad, isn't it?

While this is depressing, here's something to bring your spirits back up:

Via Wikipedia, Wildlife Extra