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The Lion in West Africa Is Critically Endangered
The African lion has declined to 500 km2) PAs and compiled evidence of lion presence/absence for a further eight PAs. All PAs were situated within Lion Conservation Units, geographical units designated as priority lion areas by wildlife experts at a regional lion conservation workshop in 2005. Lions were confirmed in only 4 PAs, and our results suggest that only 406 (273–605) lions remain in West Africa, representing
A Social Network Analysis of Social Cohesion in a Constructed Pride: Implications for Ex Situ Reintroduction of the African Lion (Panthera leo)
Animal conservation practices include the grouping of captive related and unrelated individuals to form a social structure which is characteristic of that species in the wild. In response to the rapid decline of wild African lion (Panthera leo) populations, an array of conservational strategies have been adopted. Ex situ reintroduction of the African lion requires the construction of socially cohesive pride structures prior to wild release. This pilot study adopted a social network theory approach to quantitatively assess a captive pride’s social structure and the relationships between individuals within them. Group composition (who is present in a group) and social interaction data (social licking, greeting, play) was observed and recorded to assess social cohesion within a released semi-wild pride. UCINET and SOCPROG software was utilised to represent and analyse these social networks. Results indicate that the pride is socially cohesive, does not exhibit random associations, and the role of socially influential keystone individuals is important for maintaining social bondedness within a lion pride. These results are potentially informative for the structure of lion prides, in captivity and in the wild, and could have implications for captive and wild-founder reintroductions.
Estimating population sizes of lions Panthera leo and spotted hyaenas Crocuta crocuta in Uganda's savannah parks, using lure count methods.
Despite 60 years of conservation in Uganda's national parks the populations of lions and spotted hyaenas in these areas have never been estimated using a census method. Estimates for some sites have been extrapolated to other protected areas and educated guesses have been made but there has been nothing more definitive. We used a lure count analysis method of call-up counts to estimate populations of the lion Panthera leo and spotted hyaena Crocuta crocuta in the parks where reasonable numbers of these species exist: Queen Elizabeth Protected Area, Murchison Falls Conservation Area and Kidepo Valley National Park. We estimated a total of 408 lions and 324 hyaenas for these three conservation areas. It is unlikely that other conservation areas in Uganda host 10 lions or 40 hyaenas. The Queen Elizabeth Protected Area had the largest populations of lions and hyaenas: 140 and 211, respectively. It is estimated that lion numbers have declined by 30% in this protected area since the late 1990s and there are increasing concerns for the long-term viability of both species in Uganda.