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.

The World Conservation Society note the threat multinational companies pose to wildlife as they extract natural resources from South Sudan.  “Resource extraction plans started in earnest in southern Sudan after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005. Oil companies are moving into the upper White Nile; logging companies are negotiating contracts to exploit the rich teak forests; and safari hunters are identifying concessions. Both internally displaced people and refugees are on the move looking to regain grazing and agricultural lands. Road construction and water diversion projects are under way. Automatic rifles (primarily AK47s) are common and often used for hunting. Like all protected areas in Sudan, Boma National Park, Bandingalo Park, and Zeraf Reserve are in need of effective management to secure their borders and ensure sustainable resource management. Boma and Bandingalo park limits do not adequately protect species’ migration patterns. The areas include people, and though populations are generally sparse, there is considerable competition for grazing areas and water, and agriculture is expanding.” (html)

There are also nonhuman threats to lions, primarily drought and desertification in the Sahel-Sudanian zone.

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)

Trade in Lions

Number of wild source lions estimated in international trade, 1999-2008:  48
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, Sudan exported 2 leather products to United Arab Emirates for personal purposes, 22 live animals to United Arab Emirates (six for commercial purposes, four for zoo purposes and the remainder for personal purposes), six live animals to Saudi Arabia for personal purposes, 19 live animals to Syrian Arab Republic (eight for commercial purposes and the remainder for zoo purposes), and one trophy to Saudi Arabia for personal purposes.   All exported specimens originated in Sudan and were wild source. Thus, Sudan exported at least 48 wild source lions during the decade. Thus, it is of concern that 48 wild source lions were exported from Sudan during the decade; this is 6 percent of the population (48 of 866). 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

The Lion’s Whisker – A story from Sudan

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived a young husband and wife in a small village in Africa. For some time now, the husband had not been happy with his marriage. He began to come home late from working in the fields. His wife thought he was the most wonderful man. But she was unhappy, too. His behavior was making her miserable.

Finally, she went to the oldest man in her village, the village elder. The elder was sad to hear her marriage was not a happy one. He had married them only two years before. At the time, he was sure that the marriage would be a good one.

"Of course I will end your marriage if that is what you want," he told the young wife, after listening patiently for a while. "You will be free to marry again. But is that really what you want?"

"I want my husband to be loving," she said. "I want to be loving. We are both miserable."

"I think I can help you," the elder said slowly. "I can prepare a secret potion that will change your husband into a loving man.""Prepare this magic potion at once!" the young wife cried out excitedly.

“I could make it," he said sadly. "But I am missing an important ingredient. I am too old to get this ingredient for you. You must bring it to me. "What do you need?" the young wife asked eagerly. "I'll bring it today."

"I need a single whisker taken from a living lion to make the potion work.” Her eyes widened in alarm. She bit her bottom lip. She straightened her shoulders. "I'll get it for you," she nodded. 

The next morning, the young wife carried a huge piece of raw meat down to the river where lions sometimes came to drink. She hid behind a tree and waited. After waiting many hours, a lion ambled down to the river to have a drink. He sniffed at the raw meat. In three bites, the meat was gone. He raised his mighty head. He knew she was there.  The young wife held her breath. The mighty lion moved slowly back into the forest and disappeared. The next day, the young wife came again. This time, the lion appeared quite quickly. This continued for many days. Days became weeks. Each day, the woman crept from her hiding place behind the tree, moving closer and closer to the lion.

At the end of four weeks, she moved quietly next to the lion and sat silently while he ate. Her hand shaking, she reached slowly out and pulled a whisker from his chin. Holding her prize firmly in one hand, she sat frozen until the lion had disappeared back into the forest.  She ran to the elder, waving her whisker. "I have it," she shouted. "I have it!”The elder was in awe when he heard her story. "You do not need magic to change your husband back into the loving man he once was. You are brave enough to pull a whisker from the chin of a living lion. It took cleverness and bravery to do what you have done. Can you not use that same patience and courage and wit with your husband? "But the potion," the young wife said eagerly. "Would not that work as well?""Perhaps," the elder told her. "But it would not last. Trust me, my child. Show your husband each day that you love him. Share his problems. Make him feel welcome. Make him feel wanted and needed. Give him time to change and see what happens. "The young wife went home and followed the elder's advice. Slowly, her husband began to return from the fields with the other men of the village. He began to look glad to see her. Within a year, their life was a happy one. (html)

Governing Body

Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism
South Sudan

“The Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism performs the following functions and duties:

• Develop and execute legislation, regulations, policies and strategies for the protection and management of Southern Sudan's wildlife resources and protected areas;
• Formulate plans and programmes for the promotion and development of tourism in Southern Sudan;
• Develop policies to promote tourism as an income earning opportunity;
• Regulate and license private enterprises, bodies and other agencies operating in the field of tourism;
• Provide security to tourism institutions and resorts;
• Administer and manage the Wildlife Protection Service;
• Initiate community-based wildlife conservation and tourism industry awareness campaigns;
• Demarcate protected areas and build infrastructure in and around parks and reserves;
• Advise GoSS on international wildlife and tourism conventions and other agreements to which Sudan is a party;
• Develop and manage cross-border international "Peace Parks";
• Promotion of ecotourism;
• Advise and support States and local governments in their responsibilities for wildlife conservation and tourism and build their capacity to assume all functions vested by the Constitution and GoSS policy.”

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