The Leo Foundation supports students and researchers in projects which contribute towards the conservation of large carnivores.
On Friday 2 June, Leo board members Shekhar Kolipaka, Monja van Woensel and Hans de Iongh presented the results of current tiger projects in Nepal and India to the board of Abri voor Dieren in Burgers’ Zoo.
Over the past year, the Leo Foundation has supported an education project to strengthen the protection of the Asiatic lion. This population is the only population of lions in Asia and consists of about 600 animals in the Gir reserve, India.
Education is one of the means to gain support from the local population for the protection and conservation of this lion population. The support is given through Meena Venkatar of partner organization Carnivore Conservation and Research (CCR) in India. The project is carried out in the Gir-Ambardi Complex, East of the Gir reserve. The program included several educative sessions at 20 schools, thereby reaching over 750 students (aged 10-14). As part of the project, posters, leaflets and other education materials were distributed among the schools. Students were actively engaged in inventories of the biodiversity around their schools and learned about ways to prevent conflicts between lions and livestock farmers.
The project will be continued in 2023 with support of the Leo Foundation.
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.