TIME Africa

Hidden Lion Population Discovered in Ethiopia

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Dea/F. Galardi—De Agostini/Getty Images

At least 100 lions found in the Alatash National Park

A population of at least 100 lions has lived undiscovered in northwest Ethiopia — until now.

Researchers in Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit identified the elusive lions during an exploration of the Alatash National Park, where they knew the animals could potentially live but had never been recorded. The team set up camera traps to spot the lions, New Scientist reports.

“During my professional career I have had to revise the lion distribution map many times,” the leader of the expedition, Hans Bauer, told New Scientist. “I have deleted one population after the other. This is the first and probably the last time that I’m putting a new one up there.”

The discovery broadens the known range of lions in Ethiopia, the conservationist Born Free Foundation confirmed in a statement. The lion population in Africa has declined by half since 1990, and now lives on less than 10% of its historic land in Africa.

[New Scientist]

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