African Lion (Panthera leo)

Assessment Summary

African lions (Panthera leo) are large carnivorous felines native to a wide area of Africa and southwest Asia. The species historically occurred in Europe, much of Asia and all of Africa, although today African Lions are limited to areas of Africa and the Gir Forest of India.

African lions pose a significant threat to human safety and may make unprovoked and fatal attacks on humans. The species is also noted for preying on livestock, particularly if their native food sources are scarce. The economic impact of stock raiding in this species can be significant. In addition, the species is vulnerable to a variety of diseases which can be transferred to humans.

Climate modelling indicates a moderately suitable match for the species in east and northwest Tasmania. Should African Lions become established in Tasmania, the species poses a significant threat to a wide range of wildlife. Larger mammals are likely to be heavily impacted, although numerous native species may be opportunistically preyed upon. Agricultural stock is likely to be impacted.

The African lion is currently listed as 'vulnerable' under the IUCN Red List. Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, the species is listed as 'specimens taken to be suitable for live import' and requires a permit to import issued under this Act. Eligible imports are for non-commercial purposes only (i.e. zoos) and exclude household pets.

The species is classed as a 'serious' threat under the Vertebrate Pest Committee's list of exotic animals (Vertebrate Pest Committee, 2007).

In Tasmania, the African lion is a 'controlled animal' under the Nature Conservation Act 2002.

This risk assessment concludes that African Lions are an 'extreme' threat to Tasmania and recommends that imports be prohibited.

Assessment Documentation

  African Lion (Panthera leo)   (797Kb)