Wild Animals/lions

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Question
what do you think will happen if lions became extinct, what are the effects? and can you tell me your opinion on lion extinction?

Answer
Hi Mona,

When you remove any type of natural predator that is regarded as being at the top of the food chain from an environment, there is an immediate trickle down of consequences.  While this may not be completely specific to the lion itself, hopefully this will help you catch a glimpse of what impacts could and will be seen.

To begin with, predators such as lions and tigers help to keep populations of their food sources (deer, pigs, buffalo, zebras, etc.) in check.  Without the predator to control these populations, these prey species would expand rapidly without a way to control their growth.  Now by exponentially increasing the population of an animal, they will have a devastating impact on their primary food source, such as the local vegetation.  In turn the devastation of vegetation will significantly impact smaller animals and even insects that thrive in these habitats.  Eventually without the sustainability of the habitat and the inhabitants, and entire ecosystem should be destroyed and become infertile.

With that basic understanding of the trickle down process, we can now throw in some other drastic impacts.  Eco-tourism opportunities that are provided by these habitats are now diminished which will directly impact the cultures and economies of a local society that depends on the resources obtained through trade and tourists. According to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, ..."Lions generate significant cash revenue for park management and local communities..."  

There is also the threat of co-extinction and exploitation of another predatory animal.  As an example, take into account the risks of poaching as described by the World Wildlife Fund:

"When the Bali and Javan tigers became extinct in the 20th century, poachers turned their attention to the Sumatran tiger. Which animal will be exploited into extinction once all the tigers are gone?"

For more information, I would suggest the following article from the National Geogrpahic Daily news:  Opinion: Imagining a World Without Lions.

"A world without the distant roar of lions at dawn as the mists start to lift is too terrible to contemplate." - Derek Joubert for National Geographic in Duba Plains, Botswana.

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