A recent study has stated that large mammals like buffalo and lions in African game parks have decreased by 59 percent from 1970 to 2005. The study was conducted by researchers from the United Nations Environment Program and the London Zoological Society.
“Africa has undergone a large (human) population increase since that period of time. There’s incredible pressure from hunting for food,” United Nations Environment Program spokesman Nick Nuttall said.
Elephants and rhinos were not included in the study, because of special trade restrictions. (Rhinos are endangered, especially black rhinos, which are under greater poaching pressure than ever.)
Lions in Kenya are facing extinction. Their population numbers less than 2,000 now. Poisonings have contributed to the problem.
Dr. Richard Leakey (son of Louis Leakey), has said, “If we fail to put a stop to poisonings, our lions could go extinct in a matter of years; a catastrophic loss for anyone who cares about our national heritage, but also a devastating blow to the tourism industry that currently brings in hundreds of millions of dollars to our economy. ” He works with an organization called Wildlife Direct which is trying to ban Furadan, a poison that is often used to kill lions.
Last year it was reported another study showed large declines in African hoofed animals in the Masai Mara. Some of the data showing severe losses was disputed by conservationists who said surveys used for that study were out of date. The recent study seems to corroborate to some degree, that such large declines could have taken place. Masai Mara is in Kenya, and near the Serengeti National Park.
The Kenya Wildlife Service has formed a task force to create a giraffe conservation strategy, due to a decline in giraffes there in the last ten years.
Last year, 100m world record holder Usain Bolt adopted a Kenyan Cheetah to raise awareness about the decline of wild cheetahs. The Cheetah Conservation Fund says the wild cheetah is the most endangered cat in Africa.
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