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Lions are one of the world’s most iconic species but are threatened with extinction. Developing effective range-wide conservation plans are crucial but hampered by the relative lack of knowledge on specific threats facing each population and the socio-political context for conservation. Here, we present a range-wide examination of the relative fragility of lion populations, examining socio-political factors alongside ecological ones. We found Ethiopia’s Maze National Park had the most ecologically fragile geographic population while Kavango-Zambezi was the least. At a country level, lion populations had highest ecological fragility in Cameroon and Malawi. When we examined socio-political fragility, Somalia was the most fragile lion range country, followed by South Sudan. When socio-political and ecological fragility were combined, lion populations in Maze National Park and Bush-Bush (Somalia) and more broadly, Somalian and Malawian lion populations were the most fragile. These insights should help inform more nuanced and appropriately targeted lion conservation plans.

Original publication




Journal article


Communications Earth and Environment

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