To create a management plan for the conservation of lions within Malawi
A workshop for the southern and eastern regions of Africa, organized by the IUCN in 2006, produced a regional strategy for lion conservation. Six strategic objectives were identified:
(1) Management: To ensure effective conservation management of lions, their habitats, and their wild prey;
(2) Mitigation: To minimize, and where possible, eliminate human-lion related conflicts;
(3) Socio-economics: To equitably distribute the costs and benefits of long-term lion management;
(4) Policy and land use: To develop and implement harmonious, comprehensive legal and institutional frameworks that provide for the expansion of wildlife – integrated land use, lion conservation and associated socio-economic benefits in current and potential lion range;
(5) Politics: To ensure that global policies better reflect the will and intent of regional and national sustainable use policies and practices;
(6) Trade: To prevent illegal trade in lions and lion products while promoting and safeguarding sustainable legal trade.
The regional lion conservation strategy urged lion range states to domesticate it by developing national lion conservation strategies. Many countries within the region are yet to produce national strategies, including Malawi. Following a preliminary meeting with the Malawian Department of National Parks & Wildlife (DNPW) ALERT started working with DNPW to create a national lion action plan for the country. The plan was developed based on commonly used frameworks and drawing from the experience of other lion range states that have already developed such plans.
At the beginning of June 2012 ALERT facilitated a workshop in Lilongwe, Malawi to review the draft document. A final draft has now been produced. The broad goals of the plan are to:
(1) Ensure that ecologically functional lion and prey populations are conserved inside protected areas within Malawi;
(2) Institute targeted lethal control of problem animals by DNPW as a replacement to indiscriminate retaliatory killing of lions by communities;
(3) Encourage new mechanisms for the Malawian people to benefit from lion populations within Malawi;
(4) Continually evaluate the policy’s performance based upon a system of adaptive management, by monitoring lion and prey numbers and distribution, and conflicts with local people;
(5) Build the logistical and technical capacity within Malawi to achieve the above.
In 2010 Mésochina et al. estimated a total current lion range of 12,652km2 (13% of terrestrial surface) in Malawi of which 6,903km2 (55% of lion range) was considered to have permanent presence of lions, and 5,749 km2 (45%) considered temporary presence. 6,955 km2 (55% of lion range) is within protected areas and 5,697 km2 (45%) is in non-gazetted areas. The total estimated population of lions within Malawi is just 35 individuals, although workshop delegates considered that this was almost certainly an over-estimate of current numbers.
Click here for information about lions within Malawi.