Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Africa's national parks hit by mammal declines

13.07.2010
Parks need urgent support to halt loss of key species

AFRICAN national parks like Masai Mara and the Serengeti have seen populations of large mammals decline by up to 59 per cent, according to a study published in Biological Conservation.

The parks are each visited by thousands of tourists each year hoping to spot Africa's 'Big Five' – lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino – but the research shows that urgent efforts are needed to secure the future of the parks and their role in tourism.

Scientists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Cambridge University created an index of change in population abundance for a multitude of species in 78 protected areas throughout Africa.

The index revealed an average decline of almost 60 per cent in the population abundance of 69 key species including lion, wildebeest, giraffe, buffalo and zebra between 1970 and 2005 in the national parks visited by millions of tourists each year. There is great variation by region with populations increasing in southern Africa, declining by more than half in East Africa and 85 percent declines in West Africa. The massive declines in West Africa are likely due to the lack of financial and personnel resources, high rates of habitat degradation and the growing bushmeat trade.

Despite the severe losses, the rate of decline has slowed over time, indicating that management of the areas has been gradually improving – but more support is needed.

Study leader and ZSL researcher Ian Craigie said: "Although the results indicate that African national parks have generally failed to maintain their populations of large mammals, the situation outside the parks is almost undoubtedly worse. Many species like rhino are practically extinct outside national parks."

Director of ZSL Conservation Programmes, Jonathan Baillie, added: "The results are far worse than we imagined, but the increasing population trends in southern Africa provide hope and demonstrate that protected areas can be very effective for conserving large mammals if properly resourced.''

Editors' notes:

Craigie, I.D et al. Large mammal population declines in Africa's protected areas is published online in Biological Conservation.

The study was undertaken by scientists from Cambridge University, the Zoological Society of London, RSPB and UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre with funding from the Natural Environment Research Council.

The study was carried out by collection of animal population trend data from the parks' own animal census data and other published sources. The population trend data were then aggregated using novel statistical methods to produce overall population trends from 1970 to 2005 for the continent and different regions. The aggregate result for all available parks in Africa showed a population decline of 59% between 1970 and 2005.

Founded in 1826, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity: our key role is the conservation of animals and their habitats. The Society runs ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, carries out scientific research at the Institute of Zoology and is actively involved in field conservation overseas.

Victoria Picknell | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.zsl.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>