A lionness attacks a gazelle in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park. Lion populations across Africa have plummeted by 80 percent over the last century, largely due to both legal and illegal hunting. But there is hope. In carefully managed habitats, like Gorongosa National Park, lion populations are thriving.
- Hostile Planet
Earth’s grasslands are vanishing. See the wildlife that calls them home.
Agricultural development has endangered grasslands around the world, making life tough for animals on the plains.
Grasslands seem like simple enough habitats. Grassland animals have vast, flat expanses of land on which to roam, feed, sleep and thrive. They don’t need to navigate the extreme altitudes and freezing temperatures of craggy mountains, or deal with ocean perils like plastic debris and warming waters.
But it’s the very traits that make grasslands appealing that put them at risk. Flat and often highly fertile, they’re prone to being seized for agriculture, ranching, and development. They’re also exposed, making them easier landscapes for poachers to find animals. All this human encroachment into grasslands imperils these rich habitats that animals, from cheetahs to caribou to prairie chickens, call home.
Temperate grasslands—those that get cooler in winter—are