Lions in Africa may need fences to survive

Lion population numbers in Africa have fallen dramatically in the past 50 years and researchers want to build large-scale protective fences to help them survive in the wild.

Lion population numbers have dwindled from 100,000 in 1960 to 15,000 – 30,000 in present day.

Habitat loss and little food are some of the reasons why population numbers are low, but another influential impact is humans.

Farmers kill lions due the harm they pose to livestock.

This problem with livestock and lions occur because of human’s close proximity to the lion’s habitat.

Lion in Tanzania. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.

According to scientists, lions in South Africa are considered so dangerous that when they are re-introduced in the wild, lion-proof fencing has to be installed in their protected areas to prevent human conflict.

If any lions escape from this fenced protected area, management authorities have to either recapture or kill them.

Researchers suggest that if all lions in protected areas and parks are not fenced in, then half of the current population could vanish within 20-40 years.

Problems with protected area fencing are high initial costs and the inability for animals to migrate.

Benefits of large-scale fencing are larger population numbers, reduced poaching, less habitat loss, and less direct human contact.

Lion and cub in Phinda Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Photo by: Luke Hunter.
 Want to learn more? Read the full story here: The end of wild Africa?: lions may need fences to survive
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