by 👨💻 Simon Baxendale
There are many species in the world which are, sadly, at risk of complete extinction. Even in a world where we are becoming more and more conscious of our own effects upon the world around us, more and more animals are going extinct by the day. Some of the most endangered animals on our planet include some of our biggest felines – as it emerges that up to 20,000 lions are thought to be at risk. They are, sadly, the last of their kind in the wild. Writing for The Conversation and reported by Mail Online, Niki Rust has spoken at length about the dangers facing what we have long thought to have been the prime predators of the wild around us.
Rust, a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Newcastle, confirms that the extinction of lions on such a grand scale is perhaps more complex than we may have previously thought. Not only are humans depleting natural habitat for lions, their natural prey is shrinking in number, too. Add in the ongoing worries of the wildlife trade and matters such as illegal trophy hunting and you have a majestic animal that is drastically facing elimination. Poisoning, too, is cutting numbers of lions down more than ever before. Like many animals, there is much that must be done for things to turn around – and it largely begins with widespread awareness.
Several conservation efforts have been, and are being discussed even at this moment. However, many efforts rely on not just awareness alone, but finance, too. Some of the most effective efforts have involved the re-education of lion poachers across central to North Africa, where hunters have been encouraged to instead guard the big cats. The money, however, involved in lion conservation could mean that an extra $2.1 billion is required per year – and that is including monies already being raised.
“Where this cash comes from remains a bit of a mystery,” Rust discusses. “We have to go beyond financing conservation from the meagre income of photographic tourism in national parks.”
“What is abundantly clear is that if we want lions to have a future, we must start stumping up the cash for their conservation.”
Rust’s words come as the BBC has recently aired the latest episode of David Attenborough’s series Dynasties, which observes families of animals facing endangerment in the wild.