There is no animal that better stands for wildlife than the mighty lion. An animal that expresses pride and courage, the lion has been the animal of choice for many wildlife animal lovers. However, some worry that this majestic animal is actually going extinct. Could this be the case?
Beverly and Dereck Joubert, National Geographic explorers, recently gave a TED Talk about their time spent watching lions in the wild. According to these two, lions are closely becoming an endangered species that could disappear from the wild landscape. Because of hunting activity by humans and overpopulation taking over their lands, lions are becoming more and more in jeopardy of going extinct.
According to the Jouberts, 50 years ago there were 450,000 lion in the wild. Today there are only as few as 20,000 lions remaining. This drastic drop could be the signal of the end for lions as we know them. It does not take much to greatly hurt the wild lion population. Only one death can cause catastrophic results among an entire pride of lions in the wild.
As Beverly points out in the TED talk, the death of one male lion can have drastic effects on the whole pride. A new male comes into the area and takes over the pride, killing all the cubs and possibly some of the females defending their cubs.
So we’ve estimated that from 20 to 30 lions are killed when one lion is hanging on a wall somewhere in a far-off place.
Many wildlife lovers are joining forces to try to save the lions from extinction. In the US< a film called “The Last Lions” is set to begin playing in February. This film will explain the plight of the lion population in the wild and make more awareness to their cause. Lions, as the Jourberts explain, are a vital part of their ecosystem. If lions become extinct it could create havoc for all of the areas where lions now life.
So who cares? Well, the first thing to appreciate is that the world’s large predators, like lions, are not just a luxury for us to look at, to photograph, or to shoot. They are the most vital center point in many ecosystems. If we lose them, we can anticipate eventual collapse of whole environments, right down to the water systems, as prey shifts or migrations stop, and species overgraze and destroy the integrity of important vegetation, especially along rivers.
The loss of lions also hurts the economic systems of the people who rely on tourism to survive. Many come to Africa to see the big cats in the wild, losing that could devistate areas where this tourism is the sole source of income.
Saving the lions from extinction is a cause that not enough people know about. Lions are incredibly powerful cats, but even they need help from those who care about preserving out wildlife for the future. – Summer, staff writer