Lion populations in Benin and Senegal have declined from a few thousand in the 18th century to just a few hundred now. Latest estimates suggest that some 120 lions live in Benin. Lions in Pendjari National Park in Benin regularly kill livestock outside the national park, leading to retaliatory killing of lions by local people.
In the North of Benin is the Pendjari Biosphere Reserve (4.711 km2) situated, consisting of a strictly protected park (2.660 km2) and two hunting zones (2.051 km2), which allow safari hunting during the dry season. Latest estimates suggest that some 350 adult lions survive in the whole complex of W, Arly and Pendjari (the WAP-complex), with only 80-90 lions in Pendjari NP and adjacent hunting zones. The park is surrounded by agricultural areas owned by local communities. During the wet season wild herbivores are dispersed throughout the region, while in the dry season animals concentrate in the park for its permanent water points.
We have supported the government of Benin in drafting 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 population, 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.