Lion populations in Benin and Senegal have declined from a few thousand in the 18th century to just a few hundred now. It is estimated that about 20 lions live in Senegal. Lions in Niokolo Koba National Park regularly kill livestock outside the national park, leading to retaliatory killings by local people.
The Niokolo-Koba NP (9,130 km2) is located in the Sudano-Guinean zone. Watered by large waterways (the Gambia, Sereko, Niokolo en Koulountou), it comprises a wide range of ecosystems such as gallery forests, herbaceous savannah floodplains, ponds, dry forests and rocky slopes and hils. Lions occur, as well as Derby eland and painted dogs. Recent surveys showed that a population of some 20 adult lions may survive inside Niokolo Koba NP and evidence suggests the presence of a population of painted dogs, quite possibly the last in the whole of West Africa.
We have supported the Senegalese National Parks Office in the preparation of a ‘lion action plan’ and -where possible- also support its implementation. Our projects focus on contributing to the implementation of the national ‘lion conservation strategies’ and’ lion action plans’, to promote awareness among the local communities, training lions guards and park staff and the monitoring and analysis of lions movements, so that adequate measures can be taken to minimize livestock depredation by lions.
In the new phase of our projects, we are extending our activities to other large carnivores (cheetah, leopard, African wild dog, hyena). We focus on conflict mitigation and tracking lions that are equipped with a GPS transmitter. We support local communities by contributing to building boma’s, constructions where cattle is kept safe during the night, and through educational programmes.