Friday, January 13, 2006

Experts feel rule of the lion king likely to end by this century

Experts feel rule of the lion king likely to end by this century

Basildon Peta in Johannesburg
Jan. 12. — The lion, once ubiquitous across the plains of Africa, faces extinction unless urgent action is taken to halt its conflict with humans, conservationists have warned. Scientists attending a conference which opened in Johannesburg yesterday warned that the “king of beasts” would “not rule beyond this century” unless urgent steps were taken to protect its remaining habitat.
Ms Kristina Nowell, a member of the cat specialist group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), said lions had lost about 80 to 90 per cent of their historic habitat range in the past century, and the future was looking bleak. Over the past 20 years, their population has fallen to between 23,000 and 39,000. Of that, only between 2,000 and 4,000 are in west and central Africa; the rest are in the east and south of the continent.
Mr Urs Breitenmoser, chairman of the cat specialist group, said it was not possible to give estimates of the original lion population because no scientific surveys were done then. But African conservationists have previously estimated that hundreds of thousands roamed the continent as late as the 1960s. “What is not in dispute is that the lion is in danger ... It is highly vulnerable,” Mr Breitenmoser said. “What is needed is clear vision and a comprehensive cross-border strategy to secure the survival of the king of the beasts.” Ms Nowell said she hoped that Africans would not be as “reckless as Europeans” who wiped out the lion populations. “Lions used to roam Europe but we wiped them out ... I hope Africans will be a bit more sophisticated in managing what is left of their lion population,” she said. At the conference of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Bangkok in 2004, Kenya, it was proposed that the African lion be put in the top category Appendix 1 which would mean all trade in lion products would be outlawed. But other African countries disagreed and the move failed. — The Independent

To stop whaling
LONDON, Jan. 12. — Green peace activists confronted the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean yet again yesterday as part of their continuing protest against Japan’s annual whale hunt. For the past three weeks, Green peace has been trying to disrupt the whaling fleet, which is hunting in an area which has been an official whale sanctuary since 1994. This year, the Japanese intend to kill 935 minke whales and 10 endangered fin whales, despite the international moratorium on commercial whaling. — The Independent

For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue

an Educational Sanctuary home

to more than 150 big cats

12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625

813.920.4130 fax 885.4457 cell 493.4564

Meet our recent mountain lion cub rescues:

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