Principle Threats

Pressures on land use from increasing human populations leading to continued fragmentation of the remaining suitable habitat coupled with indiscriminate killing in defense of life and livestock and prey base depletion are recognized as being the principle causes for their decline.

Human-lion conflict poses a significant threat to the lion population. “In Cameroon, of 236 people interviewed from ten different villages around Waza National Park, 50% of the stockbreeders have a negative perception of the lion. To reverse this negative perception of the lion, it is urgent to develop incentive measures making it possible to improve management of lion-human conflicts: Educate owners and shepherds of cattle:  Improve enclosures and guarding of cattle: Manage lions which become habitual problem animals: Implement lion-human conflict mitigation measures

IUCN SSC Cat Specialist Group (2006) Conservation Strategy for the Lion in West and Central Africa. IUCN – Regional Office of Central Africa (BRAO and the West and Central African Lion Conservation Network (ROCAL). Yaounde, Cameroon. (pdf)

Livestock owners living near Waza National Park report losses of cattle to lions at $1000 per family per year. (html)

Iongh et al. (2009) report that within Waza National Park, increases in killing lions as a consequence of human-lion conflict have threatened the population.

Iongh H d, Tumenta P, Croes B, Funston P, Bauer H, Haes H U d (2009) Threat of a lion population extinction in Waza National Park, North Cameroon (pdf)

Trade in Lions

Number of wild source lions estimated in international trade, 1999-2008:       104
Average annual wild source trade as percent of population size*:                       3.1%
* Used average of Chardonnet (2002) and Bauer & van der Merwe (2004) studies

“Between 1999 and 2008, 192 lion specimens were exported from Cameroon.  These included 1 live specimen from a captive-bred source exported to South Africa, wild source specimens and skin pieces exported for scientific purposes, and wild source trophies (103), skins (1), skulls (1), and teeth (1) exported as hunting trophies or for personal purposes. Trophies were exported mainly to France (53) but also the U.S. (15) and Spain (10). All exported specimens originated in Cameroon. This represents 104 wild lions. Bauer and colleagues stated that, considering the small populations and their isolation, sustainable off-take in West Africa and Central Africa was “hardly possible” (Bauer et al., 2003). The continued deterioration in lion numbers in Central Africa (Henschel et al., 2010) means that sustainable off-take are less likely now than in 2003. Thus, it is of concern that 104 wild source lions were exported from Cameroon during the decade; this is 31 percent of the population (104 of 338). Annualized, these exports represent 3.1 percent of the population.”

Place J, Flocken J, Travers W, Waterland S, Telecky T, Kennedy C, Goyenechea A (2011) Petition to list the African Lion (Panthera leo leo) as endangered pursuant to the US Endangered Species Act.  The International Fund for Animal Welfare, The Born Free Foundation, The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, Defenders of Wildlife (pdf)

Lions in Culture

Cameroon’s national football team is nicknamed Les Lions Indomitables (The Indomitable Lions). A lion is represented on football shirts and paraphernalia associated with the team (html).


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