Source: The Guardian

Though estimates abound, the true number of lions in the wild is unknown. Part of the issue may be that the way estimations are made is antiquated.

“We are just fundamentally not counting them properly,” Alexander Braczkowski told The Guardian. He’s a researcher based at the Resilient Conservation Laboratory at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia.

Braczkowski works in a group of researchers that are developing a new method to count lions in the wild. That research will help direct millions of dollars in conservation efforts in a more targeted way.

The old method of counting assumes that lions hunt within a certain range. As the amount of food available to them dwindles, lions have actually increased their hunting range, meaning there may be fewer per square mile than previously thought.

New developments should help researchers and conservationists protect the big cats for future generations.

“There’s a growth of emerging studies now showing there’s a better way. We’ve got the technology and the cameras and the science. We need to start using it,” Braczkowski said.