Image credit: frederic.salein/Flickr
The biodiversity of Cameroon, in central and western Africa, has gotten smaller by two species. According to a new study from the Institute of Environmental Sciences at Leiden University in the Netherlands, both the cheetah and African wild dog have been extirpated from the country.
And these iconic predators may soon be joined by several others.
Image credit: law_keven/Flickr
Lions, leopards, hyenas, and other large predators, though still present in small groups, did not receive a positive prognosis from the comprehensive study.
In all, researchers followed more than 2,500 miles of animal trails, spent 1,200 days tracking animals with camera traps, and worked with dozens of local organizations to search for these species. The process took more than three years to complete.
The African wild dog. Image credit: zayzayem/Flickr
Habitat loss, poaching, and retaliatory killing by land managers were cited as the primary causes of the extinctions.
There was some good news, however, for the African wild dog. Researchers noted that the resilient species may be capable of repopulating the region if sufficient habitat was rebuilt. Intense conservation efforts will be necessary, the report says, for such a comeback to be possible.
Read more about endangered species:
Life on the Endangered Species Waiting List
Brick by Brick: Endangered Species Captured in Lego (Slideshow)
The Sixth Extinction is Underway: Are You Worried Yet?
Endangered and Threatened Species That are Apparently Delicious (Please Don't Eat Them)
Read more about Cameroon:
Panic Ensues in Cameroon After Elephants Flee Reserve
CSI Cameroon: Genetic Detective Work Helps Stop Chimp Smuggling in Africa
Conserve Now or the Rainforest Gets It! Cameroon Forest Given 30 Day Logging Reprieve