The king of the jungle could be deposed and vanish from the wild forever unless action is taken to halt its slaughter, a new book warns.

The alert comes from wildlife photographers who captured more than 70 images of the majestic beasts in national parks and reserves in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa.

Remembering Lions was masterminded by British snapper Margot Raggett and aims to raise money and awareness to help protect the species.

One pic shows 10 young lions desperate for food after losing their male protectors. Africa’s most famous lion Scar strikes a pose in another and a tender moment between lioness and cub is caught in a third snap.

And in the same reserve, Kenya’s Maasai Mara, a cub meets his dad for the first.

Lion numbers have halved in 25 years, with 20,000 left in Africa and a small pocket in India. Margot said: “The rapid reduction is one of the least-known stories in conservation because the slaughter happens out of sight. Poorly regulated and illegal hunts can have catastrophic impacts.”

Jonathan Scott, zoologist and host of BBC1’s Big Cat Live, added: “There can be no excuses, only shame if we allow the most iconic big cat to disappear from our planet.

"We must act now if future generations are to enjoy the sound of wild lions roaring at dawn.”

    To buy the book, priced at £45, c lick on


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