The study conducted by a team of lion biologists of University of Minnesota in the first week of March 2013 found that around half of the wild lion population of Africa would decline to almost extinction over the period of coming 20-40 years if conservation measures were not undertaken.
It was estimated that at present, less than 30000 lions remain in Africa in around 25 percent of natural habitat. The study led by Professor Craig Packer as well as co-authored by a whole team of lion biologists made use of the field data from 11 different African countries. In the study, the cost for managing the fenced as well as unfenced habitats was examined. Also, in the study, the lion population densities along with the trends were studied.
In the report, it was found that the cost of conservation in the reserves which are secured by wildlife-proof fences was lower in comparison to unfenced ecosystems, while the size as well as densities of the lion population was higher.
It was also found out that the lions living in the unfenced reserves were prone to higher degree of dangers from the human communities. Lions in the unfenced reserves faced threats such as retaliatory killing by the herders, fragmentation and habitat loss as well as overhunting of the lion prey.
In context with the study, Panthera, a US-based wild cat conservation organisation declared that the study highlighted the degree of lion conservation crisis as well as the limited choices for safeguarding their future.
The lion biologists declared that fencing or some kind of alternative physical boundary like intensely managed buffer zones was important to separate lion population from humans in order to ensure the survival of the species. There was a need for decreasing the lion-human conflict.