By Rina Herzl
Roaming from the southeastern stretches of Europe through nearly all of Africa and eastward to the Bay of Bengal, lions once had an astonishingly expansive range. Today, lions have disappeared from over 94% of that historical range.
Some unique subspecies have all but disappeared. The Barbary lion, once the largest of all lions, roamed from the arid stretches of the Atlas Mountains to the Nile until the early 20th century when it was declared extinct in the wild. Weighing 30% more than today's African lions, Barbary lions were also distinguished by dark manes that stretched to their shoulders and along their belly. And unlike other lions that form prides, Barbary lions led more solitary lives in male and female pairs.
In the last 100 years, 90% of all lions have disappeared. Today’s remaining lions are restricted to isolated habitats in sub-Saharan Africa. Apart from Africa, a single population of about 650 Asiatic lions endures in western India's Gir National Park.
Saving the world's remaining lions and helping them recover is essential to the habitats they dwell in and for future generations to share a world populated by these magnificent big cats.