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The number of free ranging African lions Panthera leo has never been comprehensively assessed. We present an inventory of available information, covering most protected areas and ranging in quality from educated guesses to individually known populations. This gives a conservative estimate of 16,500–30,000 free ranging lions in Africa. The inventory shows that populations are small and fragmented in West and Central Africa, whereas the species still occurs widely in East and Southern Africa. The results concur with the current IUCN Red List categorization of the lion as Vulnerable.
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