World

Cheetahs could soon be EXTINCT in the African Savannah, study reveals

Cheetahs are an iconic animal of the African savanna, but scientists warn that this majestic cat and other carnivores are on the brink of extinction — and humans are to blame.

Besides the spotted mammals, there are wild dogs and hyenas that could soon disappear due to habitat loss, human persecution, and prey decline.

Researchers from the University of Oxford found that the plight of the animals has been overlooked because of the focus on lions, tigers and other top predators and underrepresented regions such as South Africa, Kenya, northwest and central Africa.

Read:If you see one, squish it! An invasive bug invading the US East Coast doesn’t stand a chance in the Big Apple | World

Specifically, 26 countries currently lack published estimates—mainly Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, and Chad.

According to the scientists, identifying knowledge gaps will improve conservation efforts by guiding funding, investment, and priorities.

Cheetahs that live in the African savanna are on the brink of extinction, but a lack of focus on the region has left dwindling numbers unnoticed.

Lead author Dr Paolo Strambelli, from the University of Oxford, said: ‘Research efforts are overwhelmingly biased towards lions and against striped hyenas even though the latter are the species with the widest continental range.

African wild dogs also showed a negative search interest bias, although this is partly explained by their relatively limited distribution.

Read:Family who lost everything in fire thankful for Islanders support

The African savanna ecosystem is a tropical grassland with warm temperatures throughout the year and seasonal rainfall.

Savannahs are characterized by grasses and small or sparse trees and are the largest biome in South Africa – covering 46 percent of the area.

The savanna (dark tan) is characterized by small or sparse grasses and trees and is the largest biome in Southern Africa - covering 46 percent of the area

The savanna (dark tan) is characterized by small or sparse grasses and trees and is the largest biome in Southern Africa – covering 46 percent of the area

They cover Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Uganda and Rwanda. Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana and South Africa.

Scientists estimate that fewer than 8,000 African cheetahs live across Africa.

Because of the lack of scrutiny of the savannah, scientists can’t say how many live in the area, but it’s likely less than half.

Data for 2016 showed that the population was around 2,000 and that 90 percent lived in protected areas.

“Our findings highlight the urgent need for additional assessments of leopard populations, particularly in northern, western and central Africa,” Strambelli said.

Read:Millionaire dentist jailed for ‘wiping the smiles off the faces’ of hundreds of patients

“Given the large country scales, studies in Chad and Ethiopia in particular should be considered a priority.”

Hyenas thrive throughout Africa, with over 100,000 individuals, but this number dwindles dramatically across the savannah.

However, wild dogs suffer the most – an estimated 70 adults are left in the wild.

The study, published in the journal PeerJ, is the first of its kind – based on a systematic review of population assessments over the past two decades.

The international team has found that biodiversity monitoring may not be distributed evenly or occur where it is needed most.

Computer models have shown that ratings are biased towards South Africa and Kenya. North, West and Central Africa are underrepresented.

Hyenas thrive throughout Africa, with over 100,000 individuals, but this number dwarfs dramatically across the savannah.

Hyenas thrive throughout Africa, with over 100,000 individuals, but this number dwarfs dramatically across the savannah.

However, wild dogs suffer the most - an estimated 70 adults are left in the wild

However, wild dogs suffer the most – an estimated 70 adults are left in the wild

Most of the studies were conducted in government-run tourist areas; Unprotected areas and trophy hunting have received less attention.

Reducing biases will help ensure there is an adequate knowledge base for all species and areas of conservation interest, which could improve their prospects, according to the scientists.

Strampelli and his colleagues called on foreign donors and researchers to increase the participation of local scholars, students, and practitioners in future evaluations.

These include providing training, financing and equipment. Donors and funders should encourage efforts in areas and species that are not well studied.

This will ensure that saving occurs where it is needed most. Population assessments are required for striped hyenas.

Further population assessments of the African wild dog are necessary, particularly given that the species is critically endangered.

These efforts are particularly needed in countries that have been identified as critical to the species.

Recent evaluations have not been conducted in some countries, including Botswana and Tanzania.

“There is an urgent need for additional assessments of leopard numbers, particularly in northern, western and central Africa,” Strambelli said.

Given the large country scales, studies in Chad and Ethiopia in particular should be considered as a priority.

As in the case of African wild dogs, it is recommended that techniques for monitoring cheetah populations be developed and standardized, including exploration of citizen science-based methods.

Previous post
The vast warehouse full of former Made.com stock a Welsh auction house is selling off for a fraction of the price
Next post
Police confirm quiet street in Shevington cordoned off after body was found