Wildlife Conservation News



 
Wildlife and our last remaining wild places are being destroyed because of human action or inaction and because of our own short –term greed.

Peter Fearnhead, CEO, African Parks Network, South Africa


 

On World Lion Day, good news for Lions from African Parks

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100 years ago, 200,000 lions lived across the African continent.

Today, we are in the sorry position where less than 20,000 remain.  They have been extirpated form 26 countries, owing to habitat loss, conflict with people and poaching.

But conservation organisation African Parks have good news.

They have been able to make important headway in restoring and safeguarding African lions, thanks to their supporters and government partners.

Effective park management, law enforcement, species-specific interventions including reintroduction and translations, and investing in education and local communities have enabled African Parks to create safe havens for lions and other wildlife. They have been able to breed and raise their young.  In short, they have the conditions they need to survive and thrive.

Lions in Rwanda

Back in 2015, 7 lions were introduced back to the Akagera National Park
in Rwanda after they had been hunted out in the 1990s.  And they were welcomed there, with children and community members lining the streets.  In 4 years, the pride has tripled.  Poaching has practically been eliminated, wildlife is thriving and over 44,000 visitors are coming every year.   Half of these are Rwandan nationals, so Akagera is 80% self-financing as a result. The youngsters value the lions, and the lions themselves are helping to build a conservation-led economy.

Lions in Benin

In Benin, in the Pendjari National Park, they are protecting 100 of the 400 remaining critically endangered West African Lions.   Thanks to the support from the Lion Recovery Fund, they have collard 10 individuals so that their tracking teams could monitor the lions and better protect them. 

In 2003 when African Parks took on the management of Liuwa Plain.  At that time there was only one lioness, known as Lady Liuwa.  Illegal hunting had killed off all the other lions.  Together with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, African Parks undertook a series of translocations to help restore her pride.   Lady Liuwa sadly died in 2017, but her legacy exists in a small but growing pride of lions.

Lions in Malawi

Meantime in the Majete, Malawi, working with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), African Parks reintroduced lions in 2012 after they had been hunted out in the 1990’s. Rhinos, elephants and 2,900 other animals were also reintroduced.  Thus the reserve was the first Big Five destination in Malawi. Today, thanks to law enforcement efforts and community work, the reserve is flourishing and helping to repopulate other reserves in the country.

In 2018, together with the People's Postcode Lottery, the Dutch Government, the Lion Recovery Fund and the DNPW, African Parks reintroduced nine lions (seven from South Africa and two from Majete) to Liwonde National Park, also in Malawi.  Lions had been absent there for at least 20 years. 

This just shows how political action, donor support and local community collaboration can lead to the return of Africa’s lions – and the lions themselves can create a host of other benefits to everyone, on a local and regional basis. 

 

 

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