Principle Threats

Of Togo’s total land area, some 12% is gazetted as a national park, wildlife reserve or forest reserve.  In the far north of the country however, protected areas were greatly expanded from 164km2 in 1960 to 2,632km2 in 1990, which is approximately 31% of the region.

However, the expansion of protected areas was not conducted alongside complimentary actions including the enhancement of arable land or an assessment of the needs of the community.  Some planned agricultural developments were in fact abandoned as they fell within the areas to be protected.

As a result, the protected areas have been immensely harmful to local communities through the loss of hunting and fishing areas and therefore the loss of protein; whilst livestock have been cut off from lowland pastures and watering points.

Surveys conducted in villages bordering the National Park of Fosse aux Lions (Panabago, Tambago), the Kéran National Park (Sagbiébou, Mango, Péssidé), the Galangashie Wildlife Reserve (Galangashie) and the Abdoulaye Wildlife Reserve (Tchamba) give some indication of how disillusioned, bitter and hostile the populations feel about the protected areas. The populations living near the protected areas consider them to be totally alien to their needs and see them as symbols of expropriation, of interest only to foreign tourists and to a portion of the political elite. The benefit, if any, is only to the State.

The latent hostility of rural communities that had been expropriated or displaced erupted in 1990 with numerous attacks on protected areas.  Local populations systematically slaughtered wildlife as an act of vengeance with supply at bushmeat markets exceeding demand.  There is also evidence that communities have encouraged and protected illegal hunters from neighbouring countries.

The Togolese people have called for the removal of “protected status” from all of Togo’s land to return its use to its people.

Tchamie TTK (1994) Learning from local hostility to protected areas in Togo. Unasylva 45 (176): 22-27 (html)

Trade in Lions

Number of wild source lions estimated in international trade, 1999-2008:  1
Average annual wild source trade as percent of population size*:  > 100%
* Used average of Chardonnet (2002) and Bauer & van der Merwe (2004) studies

Togo imported 25 live captive bred lions from South Africa in 2004 for commercial purposes.  A further two were imported (no year given) from Niger for personal purposes.

“Between 1999 and 2008, Togo exported one wild source trophy to South Africa in 2001 for
hunting trophy purposes, one skin from a ranch-raised lion to South Africa in 2001 for personal
purposes, and one captive-bred live lion that originated in South Africa, to Libyan Arab
Jamahiriya in 2002 for personal purposes. It is of concern that one wild source lion was legally
exported from Togo in 2001 because there were no known resident lions as of 2002”

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 National Emblem of Togo was adopted on 14 March 1962. In the device, there are two red lions to be seen, which symbolize the bravery of the people. 

Governing Body

Department of Wildlife and Hunting
a division of the Ministry of Environment & Forest Resources

Lions in the News




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