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The king of the African savannah is in serious trouble because people are taking over the continent’s last patches of wilderness on unprecedented scale, according to a detailed study released this week.
The most comprehensive assessment of lion (Panthera leo) numbers to date determined that Africa’s once-thriving savannahs are undergoing massive land-use conversion and burgeoning human population growth.
The study, funded in part by the National Geographic Big Cats Initiative, was published online in this week’s journal Biodiversity and Conservation.
African savannahs are defined by the researchers as those areas that receive between 300 and 1500 mm (approximately 11 to 59 inches) of rain annually. Stuart Pimm is also a member of the Big Cats Initiative Grants Committee and a regular blogger for National Geographic News Watch.
Your study found that the population of wild lions in Africa plunged by two-thirds in 50 years. Scientists estimated that 50 years ago, approximately 100,000 lions made their home in Africa’s iconic savannahs.
Lion cubs (Panthera leo) surround a patient lioness, nipping and playing, Londolozi private game reserve, South Africa. How many of the remaining 32,000 wild lions in Africa are in stable populations in viable habitat? Our analysis identified only 67 largely isolated areas across the entire African continent where lions might survive. Of these 67 areas, only 10 qualified as strongholds where lions have an excellent chance of survival. The drastic reduction in lion numbers and habitat highlighted by our research is certainly alarming from a conservation standpoint. Large carnivores play valuable ecological roles in “top-down” structuring of the ecosystem. A lion pushes on through a gritty wind in the Nossob Riverbed, Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, South Africa. Abstract: We define African savannahs as being those areas that receive between 300 and 1,500 mm of rain annually. Until this emotive propaganda is extinguished, it will be difficult if not impossible to deal with the real causes of habitat loss and wildlife extinctions. Agree with many of you here… But I fear the battle against this slaughter is pointless.
More public education , more awareness and knowledge about the long term benefit of having this apex predator must go to Africans. For trophy hunters , this is my message , what is to be brave to stand 100 m away and shooting the animal with your rifle?
When in the Southeast United States, a visit to LION COUNTRY SAFARI in Florida is not to be missed.
Generally I really don’t learn document about blogs, however wish to state that this specific write-up really forced everyone to take a look from plus do it!
Humans are so selfish and arrogant, we usually see ourselves above all creation, craftsmen of the enviroment and not part of it.
Of the 600 lions murdered in Africa every year by trophy hunters, ~90% are brought to America to be stuffed and displayed in some idiot’s den. I do hope that the lion population, actually the big cat population in general, can recover so that future generations may enjoy the beauty of these animals and so that we can learn more about them.
It is crucial for the dwindling lion population, actually the big cat population in general (cheetahs, leopards etc), to be recovered since, as the article stated, the entire ecosystem can be critically affected by their loss. I do hope that the big cat population and the populations of the animals on the endangered species list can recover because the species loss is a lamentable thought that these days, can unfortunately become reality. Please save the African lion from extinction people to see lions exticnt just like for Barbary lion is a exticnt subspecies of lions that roam North Africa people kill them for their hides and fun for game hunters. Eric Rose from Kentucky let us know about two albino alligators named Snowball and Snowflake that live at the Newport Aquarium in Ohio. We were so impressed that we’ve combed through photos on Your Shot, the National Geographic user-generated photo community, to give you even more pictures of albino and white animals. Take a look at these rare beauties—or oddities, depending on your perspective—and tell us what you think. The white color of this cremello foal (pictured in 2009) is due to a rare genetic combination. We’re Moving!As of October 22, 2014, Weird & Wild will be hosted on National Geographic's main news site.
Hummingbirds make these intricate nests with a base of thistle and dandelion, and then build the walls by lacing spiderweb with plant matter using a figure-eight motion. What’s more, any spider that gets accidentally picked up by a hummingbird would likely end up being a meal, he said.
Pinau Merlin, an Arizona naturalist, lecturer, and author, said in an email, “Even when the babies are in the nest, the mother covers it over again so it is invisible to predators.” She returns twice a night to nurse her young, Merlin said.
According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, crows usually hide their nests “in a crotch near the trunk of a tree” or in the upper two-thirds of a tree.
One last nest you have to see is this hornet’s nest that looks as though it’s grown out of a human face.
Got a question about the wild and wonderful animal world? Tweet me or leave me a note on Facebook. Every year, when the weather turns chilly, millions of monarch butterflies travel hundreds of miles to spend the winter in warmer places.
The cub was born this spring at the nearby Kolmarden Zoo, but the cat's mother rejected the cub. Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. Mother black bears are notoriously protective of their cubs, who stay with their mothers for about two years. A brown bear hunts for fish in Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge on an island off the southern coast of Alaska. A subspecies of the larger coastal brown bear, the grizzly bear gets its name from the grayish, or grizzled, tips of its fur.

If you love nature, and particularly the nature of the Arctic and Antarctic, then you should definitely think about installing the National Geographic Polar Animals Screensaver. The screensaver features images of a wide range of animals from these areas, which appear while your computer is not in use. The decline has had a significant impact on the lions that make their home in these savannahs; their numbers have dropped to as low as 32,000, down from hundreds of thousands estimated just 50 years ago. Lion populations in West and central Africa are the most acutely threatened, with many recent local extinctions, even in nominally protected areas. This estimate was made using rough calculations of the size of remaining habitat and lion density. Individual identification is a tremendous challenge and requires high-resolution cameras or good, unobstructed views in person.
These strongholds are located across East and Southern Africa, but importantly no areas in West or Central Africa qualify. For instance, removal of lions may allow populations of mid-sized carnivores to explode which would have cascading impacts on other flora and fauna. Trophy and retaliatory killings are the main reasons more than 50 percent of the lion population disappeared in 30 years. Another fact is dat their co dwellers (poor natives of those jungles) are more endangered due 2d embourgeoisement of d bourgeoning bourgeoises in d contralised urban hubs. It’s one of those typically well meaning suggestions born from the unsavory stereotyping of Africans as a bunch of hunger-ridden.
They play an important role in nature by keeping the number of prey animals under control when they hunt them. This, coupled with a decline in the demand for animal artifacts can slow the population decline. While I accept that economic hardships may drive poachers and hunters, such human activity should be more rigorously controlled. Cul8rAnnieGator of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, says her town is home to a population of white and pale-gray magpies. Check out the new and improved website, where you can share photos, take part in assignments, lend your voice to stories, and connect with fellow photographers from around the globe.
Remsen, Jr., curator of birds at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, said via email. Knight added that oleander may have just been in abundance at the time that the rabbit in question made her nest. Anywhere from 6 to 19 inches (15 to 22 centimeters) in diameter, crow nests are made mostly of medium-size twigs and lined with pine needles, weeds, soft bark, or animal hair.
The photo was posted on Reddit by Cliff Seeger, whose dad made the wooden face sculpture about ten years ago, the Huffington Post reported.
The narrator claimed that the animals might have migrated southward due to harsh climatic conditions, a convincing fact bearing in mind that the area is now a desert. They also sometimes hide food on high branches where hyenas, lions, and vultures can’t reach it. The sanctuary adopted the cub in hopes of providing a more natural upbringing, alongside two snow leopard cubs born in May. Their favorite meal is seals, but they will eat anything they can catch, even scavenging through garbage in areas where their habitat overlaps with humans. The fur gives them better traction on ice, while the claws are excellent weapons for hunting.
A male Kodiak brown bear can rear up some 10 feet (3 meters) and, at 1,500 pounds (680 kilograms), move at speeds as high as 35 miles (56 kilometers) an hour.
The images included in the National Geographic Polar Animals Screensaver are of incredible quality and you wonder how on Earth some of them were taken given how close the photographer gets. Among the creatures on display are the blue whale, penguins, arctic foxes and walruses. We do not encourage or condone the use of this program if it is in violation of these laws. Our research suggests that lion populations have experienced a dramatic decline, and numbers have dropped to as low as 32,000 individuals.
People usually think of savannah Africa as being comprised of wilderness, vast open grasslands stretching to the horizon in all directions.
Unfortunately this means that for the remaining 32,000 wild lions in Africa, only approximately 24,000 are in populations that can be considered at all secure. Substantial lion populations exist in large, well-protected areas such as the Serengeti or Kruger ecosystem. From an ecological perspective, large carnivores are crucial for balanced, resilient systems. Thus defined, savannahs comprise 13.5 million km2and encompass most of the present range of the African lion (Panthera leo).
Yea you can.They must have meant you cant protect all the lions unless you know how many there are or know what data you have of their population. Out of 100, 000 wild lions, 32, 000 remain, several thousand in reservations, safe from the wrath of the wild and of humankind.
A common resurrective strategy in the world to be made and complied by all the countries with a national enforcement on the same. To show to friends…is it some kind of desease, a twisted behaviour caused by a trauma?
In the pure sense of the term no country or race or ethnic group is practicing sustainable development as it should. I wish I had time to explain this but I don’t, so just look up the meaning of syncretism. Yes, to many of you sensitive people this may look cruel, but without predators, the prey’s numbers will grow too large and then eat themselves out of food and eventually, the whole ecosystem dies off!
However I have little faith in this since human greed cannot be easily controlled or overcome.
It had been in an unopened shed for some time—long enough for the hornets to make an entire resort out of it.
But ma biggest concern is that the opposite is true on the Sand river in Namibia where animals including elephants & lions are surviving one of the harshest place on the planet worse than those of Egypt which is claimed to have faced out millions of animals.

Dark spots called rosettes on their yellowish fur help camouflage the cats (lower left), and large eyes help them see well at night (lower right).
The eggs develop into caterpillars that spin cocoons and then emerge as adult butterflies (at bottom). A mother bear will call to her cubs when danger is present, and is fearless when defending her offspring. We compiled all of the most current available estimates of lion numbers and distribution – continent-wide reports, country-specific lion conservation strategies and action plans, and newly published lion population surveys. However, our analysis showed that from an original area a third larger than the United States, only 25% remains.
Many of the remaining lion populations in East or Southern Africa are in well-protected areas such as national parks and game reserves (although some of these allow hunting). With a good map, numbers, and some understanding of connectivity between the lion areas, we now know which populations are threatened with extinction or conversely, which are well connected and well protected. The boma fortification is so successful that demand is outstripping supply of chain link fencing and many locals are copycatting and experimenting with their own designs. Dense human populations and extensive conversion of land to human use preclude use by lions. People should be diverted from the unethical trade by force or by counselling in all those countries and a universal tagging system should be implemented and enforced. It’s annoying, uncalled for and ludicrous, especially now, 50 years after the alleged end of colonialism.
Koalas also have an excellent sense of smell (lower right), which helps them detect poisonous leaves. So, you won't be able to tweak which images appear, or the amount of time each is shown for. Download the National Geographic Polar Animals Screensaver and feel the wonder of nature whenever your computer is idle.
To fill in any gaps, we drew from the knowledge of the co-authors and colleagues working across Africa to conserve lions. Only a very few lion populations are known at the individual level, such as Liuwa Plains National Park, Zambia.
Nevertheless, this should not be used as a blanket statement; there are populations and even countries in these regions that have few or no lions remaining.
We have developed collaborations with these types of groups to identify and execute important work, and many BCI grantees have contributing funds from other organizations. Using high-resolution satellite imagery and human population density data we define lion areas, places that likely have resident lion populations. Its just stupid how people will kill animals for money or to have a trophy of an animals head on their wall.
The lion, the majestic king of the African savannah, perches precariously on the abyss of extinction, cowering from human-inflicted damage. Individual recognition of every lion in an area requires intense study, significant resources, and low numbers of individuals. Most of this reduction has come in the last 50 years due to massive land-use conversion and burgeoning human population growth.
However, because we focus on actual conservation efforts and not research, we fund many projects that do not have a chance elsewhere. Their flagship activity is building stronger bomas, but they employ a large variety of tools and methods to interrupt the circle of retaliatory killing of cats. This creature no longer roams freely amidst the ample African grassland, but it now hides its very existence in the corners of Africa that have not undergone massive land-use conversion and have not burgeoned with human population growth. Therefore, researchers use a variety of other imperfect techniques to estimate lion population size in all other lion areas. More than half of the populations vital to lion conservation in these regions (as noted by the IUCN) have been extirpated in the past five years, with several countries losing their lions entirely. We identify innovative projects that halt lion decline, bring them to global attention, and help them to increase in size. Conversely, why not centralise our urban centres so that the wild be left for the cats to proliferate. According to our research, fewer than 500 lions remain in West Africa, scattered across eight isolated sites. Finally, lions are vital to the tourism trade, which in turn is economically critical for many African nations. This stepwise process of giving start-up money and then escalating funds to increase scale is unique and the only way to meaningfully contribute to halting lion decline across large swaths of Africa. Their long-term commitment is helping build a community that sees tangible benefits from preserving big cats, and a culture where retaliatory killing or poaching is unacceptable. Areas of savannah Africa with few people have shrunk considerably in the last 50 years and human population projections suggest they will likely shrink significantly in the next 40. This is of serious concern as these populations contain the most genetically unique lions in all of Africa and are most closely related to the Asiatic lion.
The current extent of free-ranging lion populations is 3.4 million km2 or about 25 % of savannah area.
What do you think this will do to one of the last remaining major wild regions on our besieged planet?
Habitats across this area are fragmented; all available data indicate that between 32,000 and 35,000 free-ranging lions live in 67 lion areas. Although these numbers are similar to previous estimates, they are geographically more comprehensive.
Under the criteria we outline, ten lion areas qualify as lion strongholds: four in East Africa and six in Southern Africa. Lion populations in West and Central Africa are acutely threatened with many recent, local extinctions even in nominally protected areas.

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