Striking Images Reveal World’s Last Remaining Lion Kings

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Photo Credit: Facebook/Dereck and Beverly Big Cat Conservation

There are just 3,500 Lion Kings – dominant pride male lions who protect their territory and prides, like Cecil, the famous lion who was recently killed, left in the world. And, these striking images that reveal the world’s last remaining Lion Kings, were captured by award-winning wildlife filmmaker Dereck Joubert, who, along with his wife and collaborator, Beverly, who’ve been filming and photographing the magnificent animals for more than 30 years.

Lions are dying off rapidly across Africa. These beautiful cats once ranged across the continent and into Syria, Israel, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, and even northwest India. 2,000 years ago more than a million lions roamed the planet. Since the 1940s, when lions numbered an estimated 450,000, lion populations have been dwindling across the continent. Now they may total as few as 20,000 animals, with just 3,500 Lion Kings remaining.

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Photo Credit: Beverly Joubert via TheDodo

In the last 75 years, Africa’s lion population has shrunk 90 percent – and just seven countries, including Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, contain more than 1,000 lions each.

That means that every Cecil matters – and the unfortunate reality is that what happened to Cecil isn’t uncommon. Joubert says that at least 24 other lions we know of have been killed like Cecil, meaning illegally, with a tracking collar.

The Jouberts founded, among their other conservation project, the Big Cats Initiative with National Geographic. Its mission is to protect the world’s remaining big cats. To find out more, you can visit their Facebook page here.

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Photo Credit: Beverly Joubert via TheDodo

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Photo Credit: Beverly Joubert via TheDodo

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Photo Credit: Beverly Joubert via TheDodo

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