Human voices cause far more fear in wild mammals than the sound of lions, according to a study in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. Using speakers hidden at water holes, scientists played recordings of both people talking normally and lions snarling and growling. Human voices frightened about 95 percent of the animals who quickly ran away. In one instance, a leopard quickly abandoned its hard-won dinner to flee a far scarier predator – us. The lion recordings caused considerably less fear and flight among the animals.
Class discussion: Does it surprise you that human beings are far more frightening to wildlife than other predators? In the absence of human intervention, predators keep nature in balance by preventing herbivores from eating too much plant life. How have humans upset the natural balance and caused ecological disasters? Is there anything in nature to keep human beings from overconsuming the world’s resources? Do you fear wildlife predators, like lions or sharks, more than humans? Why or why not? Which animal is the deadliest to human beings?