It is time to separate lion and human populations. You could extend that idea to most of the wild cat species.
Within Google News, I thought I’d Google “wild cat species” to see what came up. I do this occasionally; in fact, quite often. It is always pointless because super smart Google thinks I am looking for information about American sport teams named after wild cats. Well, I am never looking for that information, which is why I include the word “species” in the search query. It is a bit like Googling “domestic cat” and receiving endless listings of articles about monstrous killer cats.
Anyway, as it happens, there was one article, on about page three of Google search listings, that was about real cats; the lion in Africa, and the article was not news, it was about the same old stuff and it was uncomfortable reading.
We are told that there were 400,000 lions around 1950 (about 60 years ago). Today the estimated lion population size is about 30,000. We don’t know the exact numbers because no one is counting and no one is counting because it’s too difficult and we don’t care enough.
There have been few efforts in the past to estimate the number of Lions in Africa (IUCN Red List)….In the early 1990s, IUCN SSC Cat Specialist Group members made educated “guesstimates” of 30,000 to 100,000 for the African Lion population (Nowell and Jackson 1996).
The reason for the decline? Have a guess; human interference of one kind or another is the major reason. Perhaps it is the only reason.
It is estimated that fewer than 30,000 remaining lions remain in Africa in just 25 per cent of the species’ original natural habitat today…(Deccan Herald based on University of Minnesota’s study under Professor Craig Packer et al).
We write a lot about the tiger and its near extinction (3,500 left?) but the lion is going the same way. Africa is rich in minerals and timber. The world wants it to manufacturer consumer products. China leads the way in world manufacturing and they have taken root in Africa to grab the raw products of manufacturing (and ivory and rhino horn) so they can continue to produce consumer products for the world. This plundering of Africa’s natural resources steps up human interference of the wild cat species.
What has been suggested is exactly what I have predicted for years: separating wild cat and human, or keeping the lion is reserves surrounded by fences. It appears that fencing in lions is the best or only way to keep them alive. I don’t like it, no one does, but what else?
This is because lions in their own space surrounded by fencing are less likely to:
- be killed by farmers
- lose their habitat
- lose their prey through human hunting.
The worst thing about this news is that we have run out of options to save the lion. Let’s remind ourselves that the lion lives almost exclusively on the African continent. At least the tiger can escape human persecution by moving to the high country of the Himalayas in Bhutan and adapt to the cold climate.
…separating lion and human populations will be essential for the species’ survival, researchers said (University of Minnesota’s study under Professor Craig Packer et al).
We have to reduce lion-human conflict. However, to achieve this separation between human and wild cat we need to put a lot of money into the conservation pot. I’ll tell you now, it won’t happen. There is neither enough commitment nor enough money available (which is dependent on commitment).
We need the same distinct separation between wild cat and human for the tiger in India but I have a strong feeling that it is too late and people are just not organized or concerned enough to achieve this.
Article referred to. If this link goes wrong, sorry, but don’t blame me.
Did you find this article useful and interesting? Can it be improved? Please tell me in a comment. I am always keen to improve the site for animal welfare and reader enjoyment.