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An encounter with lions in captivity helped UCLA’s Paula White solve the riddle behind the dental damage she had observed on wild lion and leopard skulls. Photo courtesy of Paula White.

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Notches on lions’ teeth reveal poaching in Zambia’s conservation areas

UCLA study shows the strange markings are the result of trapped big cats chewing through wire snares, indicating these animals are injured at far higher rates than previously assumed. Read the full UCLA Newsroom article, Notches on lions’ teeth reveal poaching in Zambia’s conservation areas.

“Identifying the snare damage to the teeth is a real innovation. I’d never seen anything like those horizontal notches before,” said Van Valkenburgh, a professor emerita of ecology and evolutionary biology. “Usually I’m looking at decades-old skulls in museums, but these are the animals we’re trying to conserve right now. This is real-time information, and that’s what you need for conservation decisions.”