World Lion Day is celebrated on August 10 of every year to raise awareness about lions and to mobilise support for their protection and conservation.
Lions – with the scientific name Panthera leo – are the second-largest cat in the world, just behind the Asian tiger. These immense creatures, weighing between 300 and 550 pounds, have sparked the popular imagination for centuries, inspiring awe through their speed and muscular power.
Three million years ago, lions roamed all over Africa and the Eurasian supercontinent. But today, various ice ages and changes in the natural environment means that their range is reduced primarily to Africa and select parts of Asia.
According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, lions are a “vulnerable” species, meaning that their numbers could and should be higher. Currently, researchers estimate that there are between 30,000 and 100,000 lions left on planet Earth. Without significant intervention, there is a chance that they could find themselves on the endangered list alongside other species most at risk of extinction.
World Lion Day, therefore, is an opportunity for lion lovers all over the planet to push back against the decline in the range and habitat of the king of beasts. These giant animals are among the world’s largest land species and an apex predator with a reputation like no other. It would be a tragic loss for both nature and humanity if the species were to disappear entirely from the natural environment.