Circle of death :(
November 24, 2009 10:11 AM   Subscribe

In 20 years, according to one estimate, wild lions could be extinct in Kenya.

There are some hopeful efforts to help protect the native lion population, including this initiative to employ Maasai warriors to help protect them, the Mara Predator Project (part of Living With Lions), and the African Lion Working Group, but it may be too little too late.
posted by allkindsoftime (38 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Context [warning: audio].
posted by GameDesignerBen at 10:17 AM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


In 20 years, where can you find lions? Only in Kenya
posted by The Whelk at 10:23 AM on November 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


So there is also a remix:

Forget Norway (caution: sound, earworm)
posted by poe at 10:25 AM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Drill, baby, drill!
posted by Joe Beese at 10:26 AM on November 24, 2009


Of course the Weebl toon was what we were all thinking first.


I'm going to have that song stuck in my head all day.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:29 AM on November 24, 2009


Wow. You know, before...I dunno, years ago...I would have expected more of Mefi. Now, I'm just not really surprised.
posted by allkindsoftime at 10:41 AM on November 24, 2009


Mom vows to kill every lion on earth, after big cats slaughtered her family. "I've killed 67 of them so far and I'm not going to rest until every one of the vicious beasts has been blasted off the planet."

In all seriousness, the lions in Kenya are East African or Massai Lions, one of eight (or less) recent sub-species (classification is a work in progress, it seems). One of these subspecies, the Barbary lion, is already considered extinct in the wild, if not completely.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:44 AM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, I guess we could try to get a population started here in the US. My morning commute is a little dull, and throwing an I Am Legend party would pay my rent for the next year.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:46 AM on November 24, 2009


I really like what they are doing with this program - the fact that they integrated the program with the traditions of the people there. It makes me wonder if conservation in my own country would be more effective if the effort were more integrated with the folk culture. "Real men don't hunt out of season" "The Bible says we should be stewards, illegal dumping is a violation of God's trust" etc. etc.
posted by idiopath at 10:47 AM on November 24, 2009


Sad, but not surprising, of course. We killed off all the major megafauna. Now it's time to knock off the next largest animals. And then ourselves. :|
posted by mrgrimm at 10:49 AM on November 24, 2009


Natural selection. It's the lions fault for not developing weapons.
posted by Damienmce at 10:55 AM on November 24, 2009


Wow. You know, before...I dunno, years ago...I would have expected more of Mefi. Now, I'm just not really surprised.

more what, exactly?
posted by cbecker333 at 11:20 AM on November 24, 2009


Wow. You know, before...I dunno, years ago...I would have expected more of Mefi. Now, I'm just not really surprised.


It's two days before T-Day and all the American Mefites are wasting time before the long weekend.
posted by The Whelk at 11:22 AM on November 24, 2009


cbecker333: "more what, exactly?"

I hope I wasn't misunderstood. I am in fact planning to immolate myself in front of the Hogle Zoo after work today in an impotent protest against the terrible reality documented in this post.

But I did want to enjoy one bit of snark before I go. Die as I lived, y'know?
posted by Joe Beese at 11:27 AM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Damn, Weebl changed the Kenya song....the original was sooo much better. I don't know about them lions but that's a damn shame I tell ya.
posted by gigbutt at 11:33 AM on November 24, 2009


more what, exactly?

More killy, less silly.
posted by blucevalo at 11:34 AM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


If the annual rate of lion loss is not curbed, and lions go effectively extinct in Kenya, how much tourism revenue will the country lose?

“Lions are the single major attraction for tourists. If they disappear the tourism market will suffer enormously and Kenya will lose whatever credibility it has in conservation.”

What is this amateur hour? You got to put a number on these things:

"“Lions are the single major attraction for tourists. They directly account for $x million in tourism every year and $y million in tourist related revenue. In the city of Liontown alone, z jobs will be loss by the year 2015 if current trends continue."

See you put a number on it and then you go "Look these people are costing us $x million per year to save a $10 goat, we need to do something about this." Oh sure you're going to always have that one guy who thinks the rules don't apply and this is lion political correctness gone amuck, but you make it a social taboo to have these in stores and to use them, you've won the battle. Nothing gets taboo status faster than telling people they're losing money because of a few farmers.
posted by geoff. at 11:44 AM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Silly Kenyan peasants! If only they had some PR sense, they would find some macho way to drag the lions around until they die of exhaustion, and then they could get admiring comments in the NYT and on Metafilter.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:46 AM on November 24, 2009


Wow. You know, before...I dunno, years ago...I would have expected more of Mefi. Now, I'm just not really surprised.

Lion-scan.com?
posted by chinston at 11:54 AM on November 24, 2009


Wow. You know, before...I dunno, years ago...I would have expected more of Mefi. Now, I'm just not really surprised.

It is, indeed, a tragedy that we have allowed our selfish interests to potentially bring about the extinction of the lion among other creatures. I think employing protection for lions (and others) is a wonderful idea, but how feasible would this be? All of this leads to another important question that I think we often overlook: Where can you see tigers? The answer: only in Kenya. Got lions and tigers only in Kenya. Forget Norway.
posted by katillathehun at 11:56 AM on November 24, 2009


Hey, I'm all for silly too sometimes, but why can't y'all go be silly in the silly thread, and not in the endangered lion thread?
posted by iamkimiam at 12:11 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Weebl is fun in all that, but I'm surprised by the tone taken here. Do people really not care?

This is a grim state of affairs. For all the time and effort put into conservation, populations of many large animals have been falling across Africa, and soon they will just be a memory and the world will be a poorer place for it.
posted by devon at 12:14 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also, for the record, there are no tigers in Kenya.
posted by devon at 12:15 PM on November 24, 2009


I think the lions are still worth trying to save, but in general the massive die-off of many or even MOST species all at once is a time-honored tradition on planet Earth. I try not to be sad about it and instead think of it as part of a very natural process.

When major shifts in climate or atmospheric makeup occur, mass extinction ensues. Soon after, huge leaps of evolution take place as the surviving species begin to branch out. Eventually the earth is once again covered with plant and animal life, but with lots of new players now in the mix. Its actually a beautiful thing.

lets be clear:
I'm not saying "fuck it lets burn all the oil and watch things die"

I'm saying "We created a bad situation and lets be simultaneously proactive about fixing it and realistic about the fact that Earth is a self-corrective system of balance."

The earth will inevitably find new balance, new configurations of life to take the place of extinct species. Perhaps some will be as beautiful and majestic as the lion even.
posted by cbecker333 at 12:20 PM on November 24, 2009


I supposer this kind of news will become more and more common. I heard last night on the radio that Polar bears will become extinct within the next 50 years. At present warming rates, that's how long it will take for their habitat to become unable to support them.
posted by Miko at 12:25 PM on November 24, 2009


We created a bad situation and lets be simultaneously proactive about fixing it and realistic about the fact that Earth is a self-corrective system of balance.

Do you feel similarly stoic about human disease? Because that's pretty much just a self-corrective force on over-population.

Soon after, huge leaps of evolution take place

And by soon, you of course mean "millions and millions of years."
posted by one_bean at 12:28 PM on November 24, 2009


It seems like Tanzania has many more wild lions than Kenya, along with less of the causes for their deaths. So that is a positive.

Of course, most people have never heard of Tanzania.
posted by smackfu at 12:33 PM on November 24, 2009


Do you feel similarly stoic about human disease? Because that's pretty much just a self-corrective force on over-population.

Umm...given that stoicism is defined as some sort of acceptance of the will of nature...then yes. Its not really the same as saying "I don't care at all if people die from disease" which i wasn't saying about species extinction anyway. Like I said, the earth is a self-correcting system and disease is just one of the levers of correction.

And by soon, you of course mean "millions and millions of years."
Yes, thats how long evolution takes. In terms of 4.5 billion year old Earth's prospective, its rather soon.

I'm certainly not holding my breath that I get to see this new world in my lifetime. I am also confident that the unraveling, and reconstruction of ecosystems is inevitable for the duration of the existence of this planet.
posted by cbecker333 at 12:36 PM on November 24, 2009


I'm saying "We created a bad situation and lets be simultaneously proactive about fixing it and realistic about the fact that Earth is a self-corrective system of balance."

"Self-corrective system of balance" appears to be your personal summary of what you've absorbed about evolution and/or the gaia hypothesis. It isn't a very accurate summation of the former and the latter is not well-developed in the theoretical sense nor generally recognized as true; its role in our culture currently has more to do with wishful thinking and a kind of neo-animism than any real climatological or biological use.

I also wonder what you're actually advising when you suggest being simultaneously proactive about fixing it and "realistic"? Do you mean "be less proactive about fixing it than you are now because you need to deduct something from your proactive efforts in the name of being realistic"? How much less proactive should we be? How proactive in general are we now? And how much more "realistic"? And what is the practical difference between this "realistic" view that the Earth is a "self-corrective system" and the notion espoused by (to take one small example) the Japanese whaling industry, that the Earth takes care of itself and we cannot really affect it?
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:58 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


First of all, my shit doesn't really apply to lions because I'm actually for saving species that humans have endangered themselves. A friend of mine pointed out, that includes MOST endangered species. So that part of my argument is sort of invalid given that specific species are being conserved mostly where WE caused them to be almost extinct.

"Self-corrective system of balance" appears to be your personal summary of what you've absorbed about evolution
No, its isn't. It is intended to summarize how the earth works. All I'm saying is the earth finds balance. Period. I'm not saying evolution is the sole player in this. I have no scientific or theoretical support for this. Its a strong feeling that I have.

I also wonder what you're actually advising when you suggest being simultaneously proactive about fixing it and "realistic"?
It seems like a pretty straightforward statement.
Proactive: Save the lions we ourselves have endangered.
Proactive: Prevent overfishing and over-whaling
Proactive: Curb co2 emissions and prevent rising global temps
Realistic: don't try to save, at great cost, some tiny rare fish that is dying because temperatures are rising (its not that this has happened that I know of, but people's despair and attachment to the current natural world can lead to this kind of behavior)
posted by cbecker333 at 1:24 PM on November 24, 2009


I'm also kind of stuck between two competing belief systems. Take this text from a description of a conservation fence in Hawaii:

The fence is a tool that will help reach the goal of restoring the area to provide a safe place for Hawaii’s native plants and wildlife by removing destructive alien species that harm them. New technology in pest-proof fencing holds promise to keep out all kinds of pests- from large animals such as pigs and dogs, to small animals such as mongoose and rats. By removing these alien species, we have a chance to preserve a rare and precious piece of Hawai‘i for future generations to learn from and enjoy.

Half of me says "if you put a fence around an ecosystem is that really moving us towards natural balance?"

Half of me says "we brought the intrusive species so we should try to stop them from invading"

My thirds half says "but we are interfering with NATURE now if we stop the invasive species."

I honestly don't know how to reconcile these.
posted by cbecker333 at 1:43 PM on November 24, 2009


Yes let's attach a dollar value to everything because nothing has inherent value in and of itself oh except fetuses they're hella important. Fuck this noise, I wish 12 Monkeys would come true.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:53 PM on November 24, 2009


yeah but, in hindsight, it's always some pettifogging detail like the tiny rare fish that was the one thing holding the whole mess together. you know, for want of a nail and all that...
posted by toodleydoodley at 3:20 PM on November 24, 2009


Wow. You know, before...I dunno, years ago...I would have expected more of Mefi. Now, I'm just not really surprised.

"This is a major emergency and we all gotta do something!" posts don't tend to go well here. We see so many of them.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:29 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow. You know, before...I dunno, years ago...I would have expected more of Mefi. Now, I'm just not really surprised.

Ya, frustrating when you go to the trouble to make a good post on a serious topic and a lot of the initial comments are just goofing around because that unfortunately sets the tone... flagged a bunch, but probably too late to do much good.

On topic, I recommend the video from the Maasai warrior project because it appeared on page 3 of the article and may have been overlooked - it's quite good: Lion Guardians of Kenya.

I hope these projects can have an impact, this would be heartbreaking to lose the lions. Thanks for bringing it to our attention, allkindsoftime.
posted by madamjujujive at 3:37 PM on November 24, 2009


"This is a major emergency and we all gotta do something!" posts don't tend to go well here. We see so many of them.

That's bullshit. Blame the poster, not the jerks who derail?
posted by madamjujujive at 3:40 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Which derail? The silly cartoon derail, or the tut-tutting self-mod derail?

'Cos, to be honest, I think the second one did more damage.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:50 PM on November 24, 2009


Wait - one person claims that many years in the future one sub-species of one animal may be extinct in the wild?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:22 PM on November 26, 2009


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