The Guardian reports: The rapid loss of top predators such as dingoes, leopards and lions is causing an environmental threat comparable to climate change, an international group of scientists has warned.
A study by researchers from Australia, the US and Europe found that removing large carnivores, which has happened worldwide in the past 200 years, causes a raft of harmful reactions to cascade through food chains and landscapes.
Small animals are picked off by feral pests, land is denuded of vegetation as herbivore numbers increase and streams and rivers are even diverted as a result of this loss of carnivores, the ecologists found.
“There is now a substantial body of research demonstrating that, alongside climate change, eliminating large carnivores is one of the most significant anthropogenic impacts on nature,” the study states.
The research looked at the ecological impact of the world’s 31 largest mammalian carnivores, with the largest body of information gathered on seven key species – the dingo, grey wolf, lion, leopard, sea otter, lynx and puma. [Continue reading…]