Carnivores are linked through predation to herbivores, which are, in turn, linked to each other through competition and to plant communities by their foraging. They are particularly sensitive to environmental disturbance and the decline or disappearance of these vulnerable carnivore species serves as an indicator of changes in their ecosystem.
As difficult and exciting as capturing the lions was, a more imposing question now loomed: What do you do with them?
Unfortunately, we know very little about suburban wildlife in Africa. Large carnivores that make their way into urban areas are often quickly killed by vehicles or people—leaving no time to study them. Or as biologist Craig Packer at the University of Minnesota bluntly puts it, “Usually, urban carnivores are encountered as road kills.”