New Study – West African Lion Population Under 400

West African Lion Facing Extinction

According to a new study funded by Panthera and National Geographic’s Big Cat Initiative, there are less than 400 lions in West Africa. Of the remaining lions, an estimated 250 are of breeding age.

“The situation is most critical for the geographically isolated populations in West Africa, where the species is considered regionally endangered.”

Field studies were conducted in 13 large areas where the lions are protected to establish the presence and size of any populations. Another eight areas were evaluated based on interviews and existing data.

Most of the data that was compiled came from track surveys, in which lions were tracked by following their footprints.

The report states that lions in West Africa have undergone a “catastrophic collapse.”  They have lost more that 99% of their historic range, with 88% of the current population (approximately 350 lions) living in one single population.

You can read the study here.

Photo Credit: Cubinnigeria Philipphenschel Panthera

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Asiatic Cheetah Family Spotted in Iran

asiatic cheetahs in iran

A family of Asiatic cheetahs has been spotted in Iran’s Turan national park.  The mother and four cubs were discovered by conservationists at the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation.

The Asiatic cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) also called the Iranian cheetah, is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The cat could once be found in regions throughout Southwest Asia, including India, Pakisan, Arabia and Afghanistan. Now, only a small population remains in Iran.

“Something that people rarely knew about a decade ago has now become a national cause for concern,” said Morteza Eslami, head of the Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS). “When we spoke about Asiatic cheetahs in the beginning, people used to ask if we in Iran had any cheetahs. Now they are asking how many are left.”

The Asiatic cheetah population in Iran is currently estimated at 100. The Khar Turan National Park is located in Iran’s Semnan province. It is the second largest reserve in the country.

The cat’s prey consists mainly of wild sheep, goats and gazelle. Loss of prey is a key conservation concern for the cheetah, along with human conflict and hunting.

The Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS) has been mapping the location of the species, collecting data on the cheetah’s habits, and assessing threats to the cheetah’s survival.

The ICS is a non-government organization working to save the “big five” carnivores in Iran, with a focus on the Asiatic cheetah.
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Lion Population Declining in Uganda

declining african lion population in uganda

In an article written in the Oryx journal, researchers are reporting that the African lion population in Uganda has decreased more than 30 percent over the past 10 years.  Reasons for the decline include

“…poisoning by local cattle herders, retaliation for livestock predation and other  human-related conflicts.”

Read more about the declining lion population at:  http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2013/10/24/Conservationists-warn-of-decline-in-lion-numbers-in-Uganda/UPI-62601382643564/#ixzz2iklxrZmw

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Poachers Responsible for Karnataka, India Tiger Losses

karnataka tigers

The Deccan Chronicle has reported that 23 tigers have died over the past two years in Karnataka, an Indian state known for having the largest population of tigers in the country. According to the National Tiger Conservation Authority, poaching is the main cause of the loss.

“Of the tigers who died at least 16 are said to have been fallen into the hands of  poachers or  succumbed to “unknown reasons.”   While eight tigers died or were poached in the tiger reserves,  six  were found dead outside them. Although as many as 14 tigers died in 2012 alone, the state has done little to curb wildlife poaching, say animal conservationists.”

Read more about the Karnataka tigers.
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Rihanna Visits South African Lion Park

Rihanna Visits South African Lion Park

Rihanna visits Lion Park in South Africa before performing at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.

The Lion Park is a breeding ground and sanctuary for African wildlife, with a focus on the Wild Dog, white lion and cheetah. The lions in the park come from Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Northern Gauteng and Botswana. There are currently 80 lions in the park.

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Los Angeles – The Griffith Park Mountain Lion

Steve White Camera Trap Griffith Park

A 125-pound mountain lion has been living in L.A.’s Griffith Park for the past four years.

Griffith Park is one of the largest urban parks in the country. Located just above Los Feliz Boulevard, it covers over 4,300 acres.

The young lion, named P-22, has been living on mule deer, raccoon and coyote. It is believed the wild cat travelled 20 miles to the park from the Santa Monica Mountains. After triggering a camera trap in 2012, the big cat was found and sedated. A GPS collar was attached to the animal to track its movements.

National Geographic photographer Steve Winter has taken several shots of the lion. One will be appearing in National Geographic’s December issue.

Read the entire story here.

 

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New Report on Reintroduction of African Lions into the Wild

african lion research

A new report on African lion conservation, A Framework for the Ex-situ Reintroduction of the African Lion, has been published by Jackie Abell of Lancaster University in collaboration with the African Lion & Environmental Research Trust (ALERT). The report provides an overview of successful and unsuccessful efforts to reintroduce captive-bred African lions into the wild.

Although off-site management of threatened species is not uncommon, there has been on-going debate about reintroduction programs and strategies.

Report recommendations include:

  • An initiative to re-study previous ex-situ (off-site) reintroductions in order to develop a framework for future African lion conservation strategies.
  • Captive breeding programs that follow internationally recognized veterinary, animal husbandry and ethical standards.
  • The need for pre-release training of hand-raised lions, including regular daily walks, nighttime outings, the development of a pride structure and hunting skills, and exposure to competitive species.

According to an earlier report on African lion conservation published by the Ecology Letters scientific journal, as much as half of Africa’s wild lion population may decline to near extinction within the next 20 to 40 years.

 

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Asiatic Lion Relocation: Gujarat Fights To Keep Lions

asiatic lion

The Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) is a subspecies which currently lives only in the Gir Forest of Gujarat. INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images.

On April 15th, 2013, the Supreme Court of India issued a ruling that some of the Asiatic lions living in the state of Gujarat must be relocated to Madhya Pradesh within six months.  Gujarat is now appealing the ruling. Supporters of the move say that the Gujarat population of Asiatic lions has grown too large for the area. They also believe that relocation could minimize the dangers of having the last remaining Asiatic population in one location.  Gujarat is challenging the ruling with new research data that shows the existing lions are spread out over many more miles than previously thought. State representatives also claim that the relocation of large carnivores over the years has been unsuccessful.

The Asiatic lion is a big cat and listed as “endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Read the full article here.

 

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