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article imageLarge carnivores around the world are in decline

By Tim Sandle     Jan 18, 2014 in Environment
A new study charts the decline in populations of the top predators throughout different global ecosystems. Most of these animals are large carnivores.
The research indicates that more than three quarters of Earth’s large carnivorous animal species are now in decline. For the study, scientists tracked the conservation status and ecological roles of the planet’s 31 largest predators, including lions, gray wolves, dingos, and bears.
Summarizing the findings, lead author William Ripple of Oregon State University told the BBC: "Globally, we are losing our large carnivores. heir ranges are collapsing. Many of these animals are at risk of extinction, either locally or globally."
The reasons cited by Ripple and his colleagues are habitat loss, hunting, and prey depletion. Because many of the animals are so large and powerful, they require require large prey and expansive habitats. These food requirements and wide-ranging behavior often bring them into conflict with humans and livestock, and in this particular battle, humans normally win out.
Ripple goes on to add: “It will probably take a change in both human attitudes and actions to avoid imminent large carnivore extinctions. A future for these carnivore species and their continued effects on planet Earth's ecosystems may depend on it.”
The research has been published in the journal Science. The report is titled "Status and Ecological Effects of the World’s Largest Carnivores."
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