The latest edition of Gnusletter includes an article on the status of antelopes in Waza National Park, to which board members of the Leo Foundation and partners in Cameroon contributed.
Lioness Nina has been seen with young cubs in Nairobi National Park! Dr. Francis Lesilau, with whom Leo Foundation has partnered for over 10 years now, recognized her by her whisker spot pattern on a recent photo which was taken in the park.
Earlier this year, board members Hans de Iongh and Laura Bertola visited two projects in Nepal which are being supported by the Leo Foundation. The first part of the trip brought us to Chitwan National Park, a protected area in the lowlands of the Terai. This area used to be a famous hunting ground for the royal family of Nepal, but in the early 70s it became a National Park. Of course, hunting of tigers is now strictly prohibited.
A recent decision to expand Nairobi National Park in Kenya is a good example of how GPS mapping of lions can positively influence policy decisions.
Leo board members Barbara Croes and Hans de Iongh traveled to Kenya in February 2022 to visit ongoing projects supported by the Leo foundation in Nakuru NP and Soysambu Conservancy and in Meru NP.
Two male lions were collared in Nakuru NP with AWT satellite collars and an attempt was made to collar a lion in Soysambu Conservancy. There are currently three collars providing data in Nakuru NP and in Soysambu Conservancy, adding to the data on lion movements and conflicts in and around Nakuru for Monica Chege’s PhD research. The intention is to map human-lion conflicts around Nakuru NP of lions that have escaped under the fences of the park.
The mission also visited Meru NP, where a collaboration with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and Born Free Foundation has been established to support the PhD research by Luka Narisha. Two AWT satellite collars were given to park staff for the collaring of two translocated problem lions in Meru NP. There are already data available on previously translocated problem lions and these data indicate that most problem lions leave the park and again get into conflict with livestock owners outside the park. The intention is to increase the sample size of collared problem lions to draw more firm conclusions which may be used to inform KWS policy.
We are very happy that Gueye Mallé has published a brand new article about his research on conflicts between large carnivores and pastoralists in and around Niokolo Koba National Park in Senegal. This research was supported by Leo Foundation and is part of the PhD study Gueye is currently undertaking.
Researcher Rama Mishra Lamichane of the Terai Fishing Cat Project, Nepal, received some disturbing news. A fishing cat got stuck in a fish trap in a hume pipe. It turned out to be one of the research animals with a satellite collar. Thanks to the satellite signal the project team was quickly on site and the animal was rescued quickly and could be released without further injury. The satellite collar is mainly used to map conflict between fishing cats and the local population, but also in this emergency situation the satellite signal proved to be very helpful.
After revealing the precarious state of Waza National Park, Leo Foundation and partner organizations have taken further steps to safeguard this important biodiversity hotspot for future generations.
In a letter initiated by Leo Foundation and its partners in Cameroon and signed by the Director General of IUCN International , IUCN urges the Cameroonian Minister of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF) to seek new partnerships in order to step up current management efforts and rescue Waza National Park. The good news is that we have received a positive response that the Cameroonian government will support the proposed initiative to restore Waza NP.
We are thankful to our partners in Cameroon, IUCN, Lion Recovery Fund, GlobeGuards and (international) l NGOs for endorsing and supporting our action to save Waza National Park and help the current threatened lion population to recover.
Until recently, lions could occurred throughout Africa, including on the savannah areas of West and Central Africa. Nowadays, no more than 2000 lions remain in this vast area. And while North Africa still harbored lions well into the last century, this iconic cat species has vanished from this part of the continent. A similar scenario may occur in West and Central Africa.
GlobeGuards member Leo Foundation is committed to protecting the endangered lions of Central Africa, specifically the population in Waza National Park (Cameroon). The lion population has been decreasing for years. A few years ago, a survey estimated the population to consist of around 30 adult lions, but the latest census showed that a population of only a maximum of 15 lions is left. Besides that, also the prey species they depend upon are declining.
Between 1988 and 2003 Waza National Park received more than 12 million euros in support of wildlife conservation and community development. Chairman of Leo Foundation, Professor Hans de Iongh, will explain the current situation in Waza National Park today at 14:45 during a press conference in Burgers’ Zoo, organized by Globe Guards. The Dutch involvement in Waza National Park and the position of the local communities inhabiting the area will be discussed.
On Tuesday 28th of September, Leo Foundation organized an event on big cat conservation for the sponsors that had contributed to the Bhopal Tiger project through the online GlobeGuards auction in May this year.
Hans de Iongh and Shekhar Kolipaka of the Leo board held presentations on the conservation of lions in Africa and the research on tigers in Bhopal, India. After the presentations, the group was treated on an exclusive guided tour to meet the zoo’s lions and cheetahs.
We are very grateful to Burgers’ Zoo for facilitating this successful event!