Monday 11 February 2019

Lions have adapted to hunt seals and seabirds in Namibia, study finds

Desert lions learning to hunt marine life to survive Skeleton Coast’s harsh conditions
Niki Rust
Mon 28 Jan 2019 10.04 GMTLast modified on Mon 28 Jan 2019 15.53 GMT
Lions in Namibia have turned to hunting seabirds and seals in the face of scarce food resources in the desert landscape, research has found.
The desert lions, which are found exclusively within the country’s Skeleton Coast region, are the only lions known to target marine life. Among the creatures they have been recorded eating are fur seals, flamingos and cormorants.
The conservationist Flip Stander, the author of the study published in the Namibian Journal of Environment, said the discovery showed the big cats have learned diet adaptability is key to survival in this unforgiving terrain.
The Skeleton Coast spans the coastal backbone of Namibia and is the driest place in sub-Saharan Africa, receiving as little as 5mm (0.2in) of rain a year. The desert lion’s usual prey of oryx and ostriches are thin on the ground there. The neighbouring ocean, however, is rich in life, sustaining nearly 1m Cape fur seals that breed on the shoreline, and a multitude of seabirds.

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