Research Papers

Welcome to our research papers database.  You can make use of the search engine (right) to find what you need.  If you would like to be informed when a new research paper is added to the database, sign up to our subscription service.

Phylogeography of lions (Panthera leo spp.) reveals three distinct taxa and a late Pleistocene reduction in genetic diversity

Using ancient DNA techniques, we obtained mitochondrial sequences from 52 individuals sampled across the present and former range of lions. Phylogenetic analysis revealed three distinct clusters: (i) modern lions, Panthera leo; (ii) extinct Pleistocene cave lions, which formed a homogeneous population extending from Europe across Beringia (Siberia, Alaska and western Canada); and (iii) extinct American lions, which formed a separate population south of the Pleistocene ice sheets.

Click to View

The Significance of African Lions for the Financial Viability of Trophy Hunting and the Maintenance of Wild Land

Recent studies indicate that trophy hunting is impacting negatively on some lion populations, notably in Tanzania. In 2004 there was a proposal to list lions on CITES Appendix I and in 2011 animal-welfare groups petitioned the United States government to list lions as endangered under their Endangered Species Act. Such listings would likely curtail the trophy hunting of lions by limiting the import of lion trophies. Concurrent efforts are underway to encourage the European Union to ban lion trophy imports. We assessed the significance of lions to the financial viability of trophy hunting across five countries to help determine the financial impact and advisability of the proposed trade restrictions. Lion hunts attract the highest mean prices (US$24,000–US$71,000) of all trophy species. Lions generate 5–17% of gross trophy hunting income on national levels, the proportional significance highest in Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia. If lion hunting was effectively precluded, trophy hunting could potentially become financially unviable across at least 59,538 km2 that could result in a concomitant loss of habitat. However, the loss of lion hunting could have other potentially broader negative impacts including reduction of competitiveness of wildlife-based land uses relative to ecologically unfavourable alternatives. Restrictions on lion hunting may also reduce tolerance for the species among communities where local people benefit from trophy hunting, and may reduce funds available for anti-poaching. If lion off-takes were reduced to recommended maximums (0.5/1000 km2), the loss of viability and reduction in profitability would be much lower than if lion hunting was stopped altogether (7,005 km2). We recommend that interventions focus on reducing off-takes to sustainable levels, implementing age-based regulations and improving governance of trophy hunting. Such measures could ensure sustainability, while retaining incentives for the conservation of lions and their habitat from hunting.

Click to View

The origin, current diversity and future conservation of the modern lion (Panthera leo)

We used mitochondrial control regionDNA(mtDNA) sequences to investigate the phylogeographic history of modern lions, using samples from across their entire range.We find the sub-Saharan African lions are basal among modern lions, supporting a single African origin model of modern lion evolution, equivalent to the ‘recent African origin’ model of modern human evolution.We also find the greatest variety ofmtDNAhaplotypes in the centre of Africa, which may be due to the distribution of physical barriers and continental-scale habitat changes caused by Pleistocene glacial oscillations. Our results suggest that the modern lion may currently consist of three geographic populations on the basis of their recent evolutionary history: North African–Asian, southern African and middle African. Future conservation strategies should take these evolutionary subdivisions into consideration.

Click to View

COME VISIT!

CLICK THESE LINKS TO FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN JOIN US IN AFRICA

Volunteer
Internships
Facilitated Research

Join us