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  African lions face extinction
Updated 01 November 2001, 10.22
Lionesses
Lions are disappearing so fast from parts of Africa they could soon become extinct.

As farming spreads throughout west and central Africa, the World Conservation Union says lions' habitats are disappearing fast.

Each male needs between 20 and 200 square kilometres to find food but there's now a serious shortage of land.

Fact File
Lion facts
Lions used to roam around much of the world
They died out in Europe about 2,000 years ago
Lions are Africa's largest carnivore

Hunting

The big cats are also being killed off by poisoning and hunting which is still legal in some countries.

Scientists say each lion population needs at least 500 animals to breed properly but most only have about 50.

Because lions are at the top of the food chain, experts are worried their disappearance might start to affect other species.

So far lions haven't been thought of as an endangered species.

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