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.
Leo Foundation was asked to contribute to an article in National Geographic Magazine, discussing the impact of lion translocations in Africa.
In some areas, lions and other large carnivores are considered problem animals when they have attacked or killed livestock. In such cases, livestock owners often try to kill the problem animal to prevent further losses. As a non-lethal alternative, local conservation organizations are transferring such animals to more remote areas, where they are less likely to cause problems.
The article concludes however that these translocated animals often have high mortality, highlighting the importance of other solutions that could resolve ongoing human-lion conflict cases. To this end, Leo Foundation supports projects in Kenia that investigate the effectiveness of locally implemented measures, for instance by building lion-proof enclosures to protect livestock or by looking into compensation schemes for impacted livestock owners.
You can find the full article HERE
In 2019, a team from Leo Foundation did organise the periodical meeting of the African Lion Working Group (ALWG). The ALWG is the platform for scientists, conservationists and other people who are involved in lion conservation, and is linked to the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature). The group has over 120 members, of which 64 were present during the meeting. Regular meetings are thé opportunity where members can share experience and knowledge with each other. As a result, lion conservation and research can be improved.
At the start of November, 64 lion protectors from 4 continents met each other at the Mpala research center in Kenya. Leo Foundation has receives additional funding from the Lion Recovery Fund and Houston Zoo (USA). This supported the participation of lion conservationists from West/Central Africa and India to the meeting. This is very important because this region represents the northern subspecies of the lion, and many populations in this region are on the brink of extinction. Unfortunately, local researchers in these regions often have few resources to attend international meetings. We are therefore grateful that with this support 7 leading lion conservationists from Senegal, Benin, Cameroon, Niger, Sudan and India were able to participate in this important meeting.
It was a successfull meeting, held on a beautiful location. The first two days, a wide selection of presentations were given. Presented topics were; the current status of the lion per region, challenges in lion conservation, the role of genetic research, coexistence with local communities, and the trade in lion bones and body parts. After each session, presented topics were discussed and interesting point of view were raised. The last two days, we visited various projects in the Laikipia area. In these excursions it became clear how in a commercial way of cattle herding and a thriving population of large carnivores can go hand in hand. We have visited different types of bombs, learned about the use of GPS collars with lions. Lastly, we were introduced to the Lion Rangers Program that runs in the area.
Nairobi NP – On the morning of 5 februari 2018, a team of KWS (Francis Lesilau), Leo foundation (Hans de Iongh) en CML, Leiden University (Kevin Groen) have decollarred two lions
Last month, chair Hans the Iongh of Leo Foundation visited the Nairobi Lion Project in Kenya, a project that is coordinated by PhD student Francis Lesilau. A very successful visit with many aspects and activities.