Researchers, writing in the journal Science, caution that the loss of animals such as lions, wolves and bears could have far-reaching consequences for ecosystems around the world.
“Their ranges are collapsing. Many of these animals are at risk of extinction, either locally or globally,” said lead author William Ripple of Oregon State University.
The loss of the predators at the top of the natural food chain is allowing the numbers of other species to surge, including elk, deer and even primates.
The study cautions that this trend is bad for vegetation and is disrupting the lives of birds and small animals. In Africa, the decline in lions and leopards has allowed baboons to thrive and now threaten crops and livestock.
Photo: Wildlife Direct