A universe of beauty, mystery and wonder

A universe of beauty, mystery and wonder

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

AFRICAN LIONS STRIKE BACK - HUNTER MAULED TO DEATH by lions - Other hunters chased away - Act regarded as poetic justice after the murder of CECIL THE LION by wildlife-serial-killer Dr Walter Palmer - NEW STUDY shows lion populations are declining everywhere

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It is unfortunate that dogs that were taken along by the hunters were also killed

Authorities reported a group of five men hunting without licences was attacked by the big cat at a private game farm near the Kruger Park.
Matome Mahlale, 24,was killed along with two dogs, who were accompanying the group.  Local police spokesman Colonel Ronel Otto said: "Three men managed to climb into a tree and another managed to escape, but the deceased and two dogs were mauled to death."
Cecil the Lion pictured before he was hunted
Many see this as a case of revenge for Cecil's murder
 and for the murder of so many other innocent wildlife.
Hunters try to prove their manhood by killing unarmed creatures
A local said: "There won't be many people feeling sorry for him. This is seen as poetic justice for the death of Cecil."

Continue reading, including article about Cecil the lion, and the wildlife serial killer responsible for his death.

Cecil was a Southwest African lion who lived in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, which borders South Africa where the killer lion attacked the hunter.
Cecil was wounded with an arrow by Walter Palmer, an American recreational big-game hunter, and approximately 40 hours later, killed with a rifle. He was 13 years old when he was shot dead.  The killing caused mass outrage across the globe.  

Earlier this month it was revealed Mr Palmer will not be charged by Zimbabwean authorities over the killing.   The government said it would not prosecute the dentist as "all the papers were in order".


July 29, 1915:

- US dentist Walter Palmer's helpers lured Cecil out of protected area so that Palmer could shoot him with bow and arrow. 
-  They tracked the wounded and suffering CECIL for FORTY HOURS before beheading him 
 - Dr Palmer has a long record of killing large wildlife with bow and arrow for pleasure. 
 - CECIL'S cubs are now in danger of being killed by other lions.

Cecil with his beloved mate.
He left several cubs behind vulnerable to predators

Palmer (left), an avid big game hunter who has killed dozens of animals, has admitted to being the one who shot and killed Cecil the Lion (not pictured) in Zimbabwe
Cecil murdered to become a trophy
 as a twisted way for hunters in need to prove their manhood.

Read more and see additional photos of serial killer of wildlife, Dr Walter Palmer.

Lion population declining everywhere, and yet the LEGAL hunting of lions continues.
WASHINGTON POST - The lion is among Africa’s most iconic wildlife — right up there with elephants, rhinos and giraffes — and also one of the continent’s top predators.
But despite its status as one of the world’s most recognizable animals, the lion has lately been losing its grip on its historic domain.
Habitat destruction, decreasing prey availability, bushmeat hunting and poaching have all taken their toll on lion populations, and new research suggests that their condition may be even worse than expected.
A study published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that lion populations are declining everywhere on the continent except in intensively managed areas in mostly Southern Africa. And unless governments step up their conservation efforts in other places, it’s only going to get worse from here, the researchers say.
The study compiled survey data from 47 of the 67 areas across the continent where lions are still known to occur (the remaining 20 areas did not include enough survey data to be useful).
Recent estimates suggest that, in total, there are a little more than 8,000 lions left in the sampled areas.
After analyzing the survey data, the researchers found that populations in West, Central and East Africa are all declining, with West and Central Africa being of particular concern.
Now, according to the new study, population models suggest that there’s a 67 percent chance lion populations in West Central Africa will be cut in half over the next two decades. And the models suggest that there’s a 37 percent chance that lion populations in East Africa will meet the same fate.
In contrast, the researchers found that lions in Southern Africa were increasing in most places, almost certainly thanks to intensive management of their populations, including fenced wildlife reserves designed to keep out poachers and prevent conflict with humans.
Cecil the lion, before he was murdered by hunters 
There are also other notable differences between Southern Africa and the rest of the continent — for instance, there tend to be fewer humans and more prey available in Southern Africa as well.
“The big surprise was the dichotomy between East and Southern Africa,” said Hans Bauer, the study’s lead author and a lion conservationist with the University of Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit.
He said while conservationists were aware that the species was declining in East Africa and relatively stable in Southern Africa, they did not expect such a marked difference between the two regions.
However, Laurence Frank, a lion conservation expert and associate research zoologist at the University of California – Berkeley who was not involved with the study, said the news is not that surprising to him.
“The paper is yet more confirmation of what we’ve known for a long time,” said Frank, who has worked in wildlife conservation in East Africa, mostly Kenya, for decades. “There are very good aerial count data for Kenyan wildlife starting in 1977, and as of 10 years ago, those wildlife counts indicated a 70 percent decline between 1977 and, say, 2007.”
Frank also noted that even in protected areas in the region, which tend to be rather small to begin with, lion populations have experienced declines, suggesting that better management techniques are needed.
One starting place, the authors note, could be stricter classifications from conservation organizations like the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which maintains a list of the world’s wildlife and classifies them on a scale according to how vulnerable they are to extinction — for example, “critically endangered” is the most serious classification, while “least concern” means the population is doing well.
The IUCN already considers lions in West Africa to be their own subpopulation and lists them as critically endangered, while the rest of the African lions are merely listed as “vulnerable.”
But according to IUCN classification criteria, if the lions were likely to decrease by 50 percent over the course of three lion generations, they would be uplisted to “endangered” status.
Since this study predicts that lions across the continent (except in most areas of Southern Africa) are likely to decline by one-half over the next 20 years, the researchers recommend dividing the lions up into further subpopulations and reclassifying the declining populations as “endangered.”
“This paper is going to shake things up a bit,” Bauer predicted. “For the next year or two, I’m sure people will be looking at this paper and it may lead to some changes.”
But Frank cautioned that a mere reclassification will not be enough to help the lions. “These categories are created by the conservation organizations, they’re very important for academics and the interested public to have an idea of what’s going on,” he said.
“But I really question their impact on the ground unless they somehow motivate the governments in charge to pay more attention to what’s happening.”
According to Frank, the failure of governments to prioritize wildlife is one of the biggest challenges facing the conservation sphere today — and it isn’t just true of African governments, either. “The problem is that so few people, even in the West, really care about wildlife,” he said.
This problem translates into a severe lack of funding for conservation efforts, Bauer said. “We have written hundreds of papers on how to conserve lions,” he said. “We know how to do it, it’s just not a priority for governments and donors.”
But he’s optimistic, citing last summer’s frenzy of outrage over the high-profile death of Cecil the lion, who was killed during a trophy hunt, as reason to believe that people do care. “[There was] so much public mobilization around that case,” Bauer said. “It shows that if we send out the right message, I think people will start acting.”
The case has since sparked heated discussions on the ethics of big-game trophy hunting, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently engaged in final considerations over a set of regulations that would not only list the lion as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act, but also require special permits for hunters to import lion trophies.
Still, many conservationists have been critical of the outpouring of support for Cecil when big game hunting accounts for a relatively small proportion of the threats currently facing lions in Africa. Frank wrote a letter to the editor for The New York Times pointing out a “lost opportunity to address the real reason lions are disappearing.”  
As Bauer pointed out, the top three threats to lions today are habitat destruction, prey depletion and conflict with humans, which more often manifests itself in the form of bushmeat trading or retaliation killing aimed at stopping lions from preying on livestock.
“I think the take-home of this paper is that it’s going to cost a great deal more money, and that money has to come from the West, if we’re going to see anything like real ecosystems full of wildlife [survive] in Africa,” Frank said. “Otherwise, there will be a few little Disneylands of African wildlife left in 100 years, but nothing like what we have seen and what people still imagine.”
Such a loss would be devastating in more ways than one, Bauer said. Being top predators on the African landscape, the natural ecosystem would be “incomplete” if they were to disappear. But on a more emotional level, he said, “What is Africa without a lion?”
Furthermore, the continued loss of lions and other large predators on the planet would make for an “extremely boring world,” Frank concluded, pointing to Europe and North America as places where human influence has nearly wiped out all the large carnivores that used to roam the continents. “Africa is the last continent which, until recently, still had an intact functioning mammalian megafauna,” he said. “And now that’s nearly gone.”



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