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.

Desertification is the most significant factor affecting lion habitat…not long ago, their range encompassed…the Ennedi in Chad…With desertification and civil unrest affecting neighbouring Chad and Sudan, the former seasonal movements of transhumant cattle herders are shifting to permanent livestock husbandry systems that conflict with local livelihoods and with protected areas, lion prey and lions…Near Zakouma National park in Chad, nomadic livestock in Ambaradje and Zan is more prone to lion predation during the dry season.”

Agricultural factors also have implications.  “Like cotton, berbéré sorghum exerts increasing pressure near protected areas such as Zakouma National Park in Chad, which is a lion stronghold for the region.”

The loss of lions may be accidental, as locals use traps to catch prey species.   “The villagers of Kacha-kacha near Zakouma National Park in Chad, for example, use a trap known as a cadjaman in which they capture hyenas and lions as well as buffaloes, korrigums and smaller antelopes.”

Chardonnet P, Soto B, Fritz H, Crosmary W, Drouet-Hoguet N, Mesochina P, Pellerin M, Mallon D, Bakker, L, Boulet H, Lamarque F (2010) Managing the conflicts between people and lion: Review and insights from the literature and field experience.  Wildlife Management Working Paper 13 (pdf)

Trade in Lions

Number of wild source lions estimated in international trade, 1999-2008:             16
Average annual wild source trade as percent of population size*:                           <1%
* Used average of Chardonnet (2002) and Bauer & van der Merwe (2004) studies

“Between 1999 and 2008, Chad exported two trophies to Poland and thirteen to France, all from wild sources, for hunting trophy purposes. In addition, Chad exported one wild source skin to Poland for personal purposes. All originated in Chad. Thus, Chad exported sixteen wild source lions during the decade. Bauer et al. (2003) stated that, considering the small populations and their isolation, sustainable off-take in West Africa and Central Africa was “hardly possible”.  The alarming situation of lions in Central Africa (Henschel et al., 2010) means that sustainable off-takes are less likely now than in 2003. Thus, it is of concern that 16 wild source lions were exported from Chad during the decade; this is 5 percent of the population (16 of 335).  Annualized, these exports represent less than 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

In Chad, the Teda-Daza and Bѐri cattle-herders consider the lion as the king of beasts.  As such they consider the lion both foolish and strong.


Adopted in 1970, Chad’s coat of arms features the same colours as the national flag (blue, yellow, red). The medal at the bottom of the shield signifies the National Order of Chad. The blue bars on the yellow shield represent Lake Chad. To either side are a mountain goat (symbolizing the north of Chad) and a lion (symbolizing the south of the country).  The red arrows and the ribbon represent salt. The inscription translates as Unity, Work, Progress. (html)

When the Hyena and the Billy Goat Signed a Peace Treaty – a story from Chad (html)

After ceaseless quarrels which caused them to fight one against the other, all the animals, those of the village and those of the bush, agreed to sign a peace treaty, to cease killing one another. It was agreed that from now on all must live as brothers and be united against their common enemy, Man, who is undoubtedly weak, but to whom God gave the means to remain Master of some of the animals and to hold in respect the others, either to pester them for fun, or to kill them to feed himself.

Moreover, weren't the domestic animals originally from the jungle, before man's control came over them? Thus, messengers were sent out, to broadcast the good news everywhere. Yes, reconciliation and harmony would certainly be born, live and go from this moment on.

At last, a specific time was decided upon, an evening, to celebrate the peace treaty with a festival in a vast field in the heart of the bush, not too far from some uncultivated fields. All animals, large and small, those who live in the village, in the bush or in trees, in holes and in the water, those who fly, who run, who go about on two or four legs, those who crawl, those who were crippled, those who were victims of the ferocity of their fellow animals or the blows of Man; in short, all those which life opposed gathered together to seal their reconciliation permanently.

Soon, an enormous and dense crowd filled up the vast field. There were congratulations, and brotherly shaking of paws. The lion, the elephant, the buffalo, the bull, the dromedary and some other notables spoke one after another in exciting terms about the object of the meeting (the peace treaty). When they had finished, everyone was full of joy. They were warmly applauded.

Then the dance started, led by a very fascinating music. The musicians were: a monkey, a hare with long ears, a porcupine with his body armed with prickles, a jackal with a long muzzle, along with other virtuosos playing, one on the tam-tam, one on the xylophone, one on the flute. Each competed to be considered the most skilful musician. Soon, the fever of the moment grew and filled the crowd. The ostrich, the giraffe, the horse, all excellent dancers, had great success. As for the enormous horse, that genius of the African rivers (I speak of the hippopotamus, that dreadful mastodon badly cut out of his pattern with scissors by Mother Nature), did not spare anything to entertain the audience with his buffooneries.

After several other dancers had danced in the middle, the Billy Goat dizzily jumped into the circle and, by his clumsiness, caused a certain amount of disorder. And, as the proverb says, "The bone which the dog sees, the goat does not see it". The hyena, which undoubtedly was lying in wait for him, went to be near him, pretending to admire him and tossing him looks which did not mislead as to his intentions.

At last, when he was not able to contain himself any longer, the hyena threw himself brutally onto the Billy Goat, attempting to pull him out of the circle to better strangle him. The goat cried out desperately and the audience hurried to release him from the power of the hyena which had already started to lick his chops. Confusion and panic then filled the crowd. The panther benefited from the opportunity to attack the sheep and at last a heated battle ensued.

The members of the Animal Steering Committee vainly tried to restore order. The lion, by not paying attention, tore an ear off the bull which, in turn, popped one of his eyes out. The brawl spread and the height of the panic was followed by a generalized escape. The domestic animals, instinctively, headed toward the village, pursued by the blood thirsty beasts. There were cries of attack, keen fighting and shrieks of anguish. Alerted, the men of the village seized their weapons and left their homes. Rifle shots rang out, and arrows whistled.

The wild beasts, frightened, quickly ran back into the bush, but not without leaving behind them some of their own, dead or wounded.

Thus the peace treaty failed. "Harmony does not rule in a city without ignorance." One can maintain peace only by tolerance, by give-and-take, by the reciprocal compromises and the forgetting of the old reflexes of hatred. The animals learned this lesson at a price.

The moral of this story: "Peace and harmony do not come from speaking clever words; above all, they are behaviours and actions."  

Chardonnet P, Soto B, Fritz H, Crosmary W, Drouet-Hoguet N, Mesochina P, Pellerin M, Mallon D, Bakker, L, Boulet H, Lamarque F (2010) Managing the conflicts between people and lion: Review and insights from the literature and field experience.  Wildlife Management Working Paper 13 (pdf)

Governing Body

Ministry of Environment, Quality of Life & National Parks
Government of Chad

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