Dodoma. A total of 250 lions are killed every year in Tanzania by poachers raising fears of the possible extinction of the "king of the jungle" in the country in the foreseeable future.
An official from the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (Tawiri) Dr Dennis Ikanda said the number of lions has dropped from about 25,000 in 2010 to 16,000 currently.
Speaking during the commemorations of World wildlife Day Dr Ikanda noted that Tanzania still hosts the largest number of lions of any other country but if the poaching trend is worrying.
The theme of the World Wildlife Day was “Big Cats: Predators Under Threat" and it was aimed at sensitizing the public on the importance of protecting the big cats.
About 80 per cent of the lions live in national parks, Dr Ikanda noted, but it is the remaining 20 per cent that lives in the unprotected forests that is in high risk of poaching.
Speaking on behalf of the Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, the Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism Dr Hamisi Kigwangala said Tanzania has signed various international agreements on the protection of wild animals, and that it will continue working the talk on the signed pacts.
He went on to ask the religious leaders and the civil societies associations to continue to speak against poaching.
“It’s a cross-cutting issue that needs active participation of every member of the society, these animal are for the present and future of the country,” he said.