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.