Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Lions 'could be extinct within a generation' in shock mirror of the sabre-toothed

LIONS are going the same way as the sabre-toothed tiger, according to experts, and could be extinct within a generation.

PUBLISHED: 00:01, Wed, May 10, 2017 | UPDATED: 12:21, Wed, May 10, 2017

Lions 'could be extinct within a generation' in shock mirror of the sabre-toothed cat.

An international team of scientists reckon the African Lion and the Sunda clouded leopard are the next big cat species to become extinct - because they have lost most of their prey.

Beloved lions face the same challenges as their extinct ancestors, the seven species of big cat that died out at the end of the last Ice Age.

A new study led by scientists from the universities of Sussex, Oxford's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCru), Aarhus and Goteborg has assessed whether Ice Age extinction trends could be applied to populations of big cat species now.

Four different types of sabre-toothed cats, cave lions and American lions and the American Cheetah all went extinct around up to around 12,000 years ago.

The fairy-tale consequences of Old Mother Hubbard's cupboard being bare are all too vividly real for modern big cats

The scientists discovered that if they were alive today, they would only have 25 per cent of their preferred prey species, meaning they would be struggling to survive.

They believe this devastating loss of prey species was a major contributing factor to the extinction of these big cats.

The team have also used the database to work out whether a similar decline in the availability of prey species now could lead to the demise of some of the world's most well-known big cat species.

Sadly, they discovered that if all the currently threatened and dwindling prey species within their roaming areas disappeared, African lions would be left without 40 per cent of their food supply.

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