Such a change in impacts of apex predators is likely to lead to fundamental changes in the ecosystems in which they live. There will be less control of herbivore numbers, so overpopulation may become an issue. Indeed controlling overabundant herbivores such as kudu antelopes has been the primary driver behind reintroducing large predators in Africa.

With dense bushes near rivers and other obvious ambush spots no longer being so risky, vegetation will change. Those bushes will be eaten away. This may benefit some species at the expense of others and will have cascading effects throughout the ecosystem.

As they sit at the top of Africa’s food chain, declining lion numbers highlight a wider conservation crisis. Learning more about lions and funding on-ground action to protect them, coupled with improved and open governance of states in which they live, could help to avert this crisis.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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