The killing of a much-loved lion called Cecil by an American big-game hunter in Zimbabwe in July 2015 sparked international outrage. It also drew world attention to shrinking numbers of the 'king of the beasts' and yet their continued hunting for sport. There are no lions left north of the Sahara and their range in southern Africa has shrunk considerably. Two subspecies have already gone. With numbers down to just 20,000, many experts believe, that without effective conservation plans in place, Africa's remaining lions will be wiped out by the mid half of this century.
Sara Evans considers the cultural significance of the lion over thousands of years as well as its historic rise and fall as a global species. She also explores the many, and often complex, reasons that explain why numbers have plummeted so catastrophically in recent decades. As humans are the lion's only predator, she asks what is being done to reverse, or at least stem this haemorrhage?
By interweaving vivid personal encounters with Africa's last lions – from Kenya in the northeast to Botswana in the south – visits to breeding projects in the west and their protectors all over the continent, she hopes to answer this question as well as turn the spotlight on the plight of Africa's most iconic and mesmerising animals.
The narrative also includes photographs, illustrations and maps as well as insights from experts in the field
Sara Evans is an award-winning writer and photojournalist, specialising in travel and wildlife. Newspapers and magazines that have featured her work include: Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, Independent on Sunday, The Mail on Sunday, The Australian Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Boston Globe, Lonely Planet Travel Magazine, BBC Wildlife Magazine, Africa Geographic, Countryside, and Wildlife magazine. She won the 2005 Independent on Sunday and Bradt Travel Writing competition and has been shortlisted in a number of BBC writing competitions and been a panelist at Bradt travel-writing seminars.
"Sara Evans documents the rise and fall of the lion in intimate detail; nothing misses her perceptive gaze. She does not judge, and is content to simply unearth the facts. When the Last Lion Roars is a plea on behalf of the natural world, with the lion as her witness. It is an eloquent story of despair and hope – a stark reminder that nothing is sacred in a world of rampant population growth and vanishing wild spaces."
– The Big Cat People, Jonathan and Angela Scott
"A hugely thorough overview concerning lions and their imminent disappearance from the natural world. Sara Evans shows where we stand after the global outrage over the killing of Cecil, and nurses a faint ember of hope for the continued survival of the king of beasts."
– Dr Ross Barnett
"Heart-breaking, thought-provoking and a thoroughly essential read."
– Simone Brookes, Discover Animals
"Sara Evans does a masterful job of guiding the reader through the fascinating history of the lion, right from its early predecessor, the prehistoric cave lion, all the way through to present day. [...] Peppered with personal accounts of observing lions both in the wild and captivity, the author brings this species to life in beautiful, page-turning prose. [...] Written in an engaging and accessible manner and including cutting-edge research on the species. [...] The book concludes with a positive story of hope on how we can help secure this species' future and the amazing people that are dedicating their lives to ensuring that lions will be around for many generations to come."
– Niki Rust, British Ecological Society