National Geographic : 2013 Aug
• nents of the lions' glory days and their decline. Chauvet Cave, in southern France, lled with vivid Paleolithic paintings of wildlife, shows us that lions inhabited Europe along with humans 30 millennia ago; the Book of Daniel suggests that lions lurked at the outskirts of Babylon in the sixth century . .; and there are reports of lions surviving in Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran until well into the 19th or 20th centuries. Africa alone, during this long ebb, remained the reliable heartland. But that has changed too. New surveys and ions are complicated creatures, magni cent at a distance yet fearsomely inconvenient to the rural peoples whose fate is to live among them. ey are lords of the wild savanna but inimical to pastoralism and incompatible with farming. So it's no wonder their fortunes have trended downward for as long as human civilization has been trending up. ere's evidence across at least three conti- LLegally hunted lions in South Africa yield skeletons that are exported for traditional medicines, mostly to Asia. With tigers reduced to a few thousand in the wild, lion bones are gaining popularity.