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.
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.
The Daily Mail’s recent story of the Asiatic lion includes stunning photos by wildlife photographer Uri Golman. Read the full story and see all of the images for “An Intimate and Stunning Photo Portrait of the Last Remaining Asiatic Lions…”
Read more about the Asiatic Lion and conservation groups working to protect this endangered species here.
An article from National Geographic on the importance of lion and tiger corridors in India.
“Every day, little by little, our species is creating new islands. These are not islands in the sea. They are patches of forest, grassland, mountainside, and swamp that encompass what remains of the wild. Unlike islands dotted across the sea, though, there are sometimes pathways between these protected swaths that permit organisms to traverse the small percentage of their range that remains open to habitation. In the case of central India’s tigers and leopards, these wildlife corridors are critical for survival.”
You can read the entire story here.
The Asiatic lion is an endangered lion subspecies that inhabits Gujarat (The Land of the Legends), a state in India. There are currently less than 500 Asiatic lions in existence. Only 13 Asiatic lions were in existence in 1907, when an Indian prince banned hunting the lions.
In 1965, the Gujarat’s Gir National Park and Gir National Sanctuary began protecting the lion to prevent its extinction. Today, the Pania Sanctuary, Girnar Sanctuary and Mitiyala Sanctuary also provide a safe haven for the lion.
According to an article in Scientific American, the Asiatic lions have so far been saved from extinction, but are now outgrowing their safe environment and facing new survival issues.
“…the lions themselves are killed or injured when they come into contact with crude, deadly electric fences built around farms or fall in any of the tens of thousands of roughly hewn open wells in the region.”
The Wildlife Conservation Trust of India’s Asiatic lion website has detailed information on the lion, including statistics, habitat and conservation data. The group is also involved in the Sakkarbaug Zoo Asiatic lion breeding program.
Map of Gujarat in India
Asiatic Lion Photo Credit: Gangasudhan at en.wikipedia