When its fossils might be those of another big cat. This is the case with “Panthera atrox”. It used to be called the American lion, and recent genetic studies support this. However, some experts disagree. And if you take out Atrox, lions’ historical range shrinks considerably. – a huge difference for conservationists today.
Any cat, large or small, will hurt you if you aren’t careful. And many wild cats threaten subsistence farmers by killing livestock. But maneaters are the prime example of dangerous cats.
The Texas Zoo in Victoria, Texas, was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey’s winds and the subsequent Guadalupe River flooding. Here is their public face on September 2, 2017, as trained animal handlers and other experts help them clean up.
The fact that cats are dangerous seems pretty self-evident.
Yet, last summer, visitors to a drive-through zoo still got out of their car near an uncaged tiger, with predictable results.
This summer, a Kenyan man illegally grazed his herd in Nairobi National Park at night – prime lion activity time. They found what little was left of him the next morning.
Seen more closely, though, these incidents aren’t as simple as they seem.
For one thing, each happened in a big city – Beijing and Nairobi, respectively.
Much of what we love about cats is there because they are killers. But hunger is a fact of life, and cats play an important role in their ecosystem.
What species do you think of when somebody says “big cats”?