Big cats face same threats as extinct Ice Age ancestors

Big cat species, especially African lion and Sunda clouded leopard, face the same challenges as their ancestors that went extinct towards the end of the last Ice Age, a new study says.
The team researched the cause of extinction of seven large cats from the Ice Age including four different types of sabre-toothed cats.
The seven big cats that went extinct during that period are those which lost the greatest proportion of their prey, showed the study published in the journal Ecography.
Using a new global database of felid diets called FelidDiet, the researchers assessed whether Ice Age extinction trends could be applied to populations of big cat species now.
They discovered that if all the currently threatened and declining prey species within big cat natural ranges were to go extinct, only 39 per cent of the African lion’s prey and 37 per cent of Sunda clouded leopard’s would remain.
The researchers believe that if this prey loss trend continued, this would pose a high risk of extinction to these two big cat species in particular.
Prey decline puts tiger, leopard and cheetah at risk too, the researchers said. — IANS