Saving west Africa’s ultimate lions: Six animals in Senegal park outfitted with GPS collars to accumulate data

Two scientists from wild cat conservation organisation, Panthera and a Senegal Department of National Parks staff member with an anesthetised and collared lion in Niokolo Koba National Park, Senegal, 2021. Photo: Panthera
Two researchers from wild cat conservation organisation, Panthera and a Senegal Part of Nationwide Parks employees member with an anesthetised and collared lion in Niokolo Koba Nationwide Park, Senegal, 2021. Image: Panthera

Senegal’s Workplace of Nationwide Parks (DPN) and US-based wild cat conservation organisation Panthera, have collectively fitted six critically endangered West African lions with collars fitted with World large Positioning Methods (GPS) within the nation’s Niokolo Koba Countrywide Park (NKNP), based on a assertion.

The GPS collars have been outfitted to current essential details about the species, which is down to simply 250 within the wild, though NKNP’s lion populace has doubled within the ultimate decade.

A group made up of consumers from each side labored nightly about three months in 2021 and 2022 to trace, lure and correctly collar the six lions within the 9,000 sq km park.

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The collared people additionally embrace issues like a ‘coalition’ of three male lions. This, based on the assertion, is a extraordinarily encouraging signal because of the truth male lions type this type of teams solely when numbers are superior enough to warrant competitiveness.

The group additionally collared a wholesome lioness in her main.

Additionally they encountered a lioness who was manner too youthful to collar however was wounded owing to porcupine quills caught in her face that had prevented feeding for most probably a thirty day interval and would have resulted in her imminent dying. The girl was captured and the quills had been eliminated.

The GPS has began to reveal essential data. For example, it has revealed that the lions common a selected location of the park. Anti-poaching actions can now be directed to this area.

It has additionally been disclosed that lions within the park favor huge ungulates (hooved animals) as prey, which implies these far too must have protection.

The assertion extra that stringent security endeavours had helped herbivore populations of Roan antelope and African buffalo rebound within the park, which signalled hope for the lions.

However the GPS has highlighted stressing components far too. It has unveiled a decreased dispersal drive, indicating that rivals among the many male lions is stunted and suggesting that lion densities within the park are proceed to far beneath their potential.

Lions had been being simply currently labeled into two subspecies: Panthera leo leo or ‘northern lion’ of west Africa, north Africa, West Asia and India and Panthera leo melanochaita the ‘southern lion’, that inhabits japanese and southern Africa.

The West African or Senegalese lion is genetically distinctive from the lions of southern and japanese Africa and a part of the Northern lion subspecies. It has a slim mane and a lanky human physique, in accordance to the Panthera assertion

The lion is the official picture of Senegal and the nationwide soccer crew mascot, along with remaining highlighted within the nation’s anthem.

 Nonetheless, West African lions have skilled particularly spectacular inhabitants declines due to unlawful looking of the species’ prey, poaching for the unlawful wildlife commerce, fast killing about livestock depredation and discount of habitat.

Lions now inhabit only one specific for every cent of their historic array in West Africa.

NKNP, a UNESCO Planet Heritage Web web site, can be home to a single of probably the most important remaining leopard populations as correctly because the previous surviving African Trying Pet canine populations in west Africa. Different wild cats found in NKNP embrace the serval, caracal and African wild cat.

Philipp Henschel, an professional on the West African lion, who can be Panthera’s West and Central Africa regional director, was quoted as declaring that NKNP had the chance to harbour a whole bunch of lions and transform the ‘Serengeti of West Africa,’ benefitting the 2 individuals and wildlife.

Within the meantime, the crew designs to in good condition GPS collars on to a special six lions within the present dry season.


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