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The Last Days of Megafauna


I don’t mean to deviate from my usual bright cheery self, but the violent death of Wayne Lotter, one of the leading conservationists in Africa fighting the poaching epidemic, reminds me that the future of all megafauna on the planet is highly endangered. The rapidly declining numbers of rhinos, elephants, lions, tigers, leopards, and basically every other large charismatic megafauna animal in the face of poaching, development, rich white people’s bloodlust, and population growth means that it is pretty unlikely any of these animals exist in the wild in a century. Some may be maintained in zoos or preserves. Of course, things can change. The populations of all large North American mammals plummeted by 1900 to extremely low levels, some as low as to create genetic problems from inbreeding today such as with the bison. Yet bison, bears, elk, and deer are all here, even if some of the subspecies didn’t make it. So there’s hope until there’s not hope. But there’s not much hope.

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