Big Cat Tracker Boone Smith On Why We ‘Have A Responsibility’ To Protect Lions

male lion

It’s no secret that big cats are in trouble.

Four of the five feline species that fall under that umbrella are endangered or near threatened: snow leopards, jaguars, leopards and tigers. Lions, whose populations once numbered close to 200,000, have lost most of their historical range to farms and could face extinction by 2050. They face a slew of threats, from habitat loss and poaching, to retribution killings and the illegal pet trade.

For Boone Smith, a fourth-generation big cat tracker who cut his teeth trapping mountain lions in Idaho and star of Nat Geo WILD’s upcoming show “Man v. Lion,” the fight to save these species is an “uphill battle” that we still have time to win. The Huffington Post spent time with Smith at a private game reserve in South Africa earlier this month to learn about the threats lions and other cats face as urban sprawl threatens to overtake all of the land once ruled by the king of the jungle.

This interview has been edited for clarity and content.

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Delaying Death: Mercury Spacecraft Firing Engines To Stay Up Until 2015

Illustration of MESSENGER in orbit around Mercury (NASA/JPL/APL)

Illustration of MESSENGER in orbit around Mercury (NASA/JPL/APL)

Don’t take these spectacular Mercury images (below the jump) for granted. Three weeks ago, NASA’s orbiting Mercury spacecraft did an engine fire to boost its altitude above the hothouse planet. Another one is scheduled for January.

But all this will do is delay the end of the long-running mission — the first one to orbit Mercury — until early 2015, the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory wrote in an update. These maneuvers “extend orbital operations and delay the probe’s inevitable impact onto Mercury’s surface until early next spring,” the organization said in a statement.

Read the rest of Delaying Death: Mercury Spacecraft Firing Engines To Stay Up Until 2015 (501 words)

© Elizabeth Howell for Universe Today, 2014. |
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