Research Papers

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Socio-spatial behaviour of an African lion population following perturbation by sport hunting

Hunting of individuals from a population can affect its demography and socio-spatial parameters. This study provided opportunities to assess such effects, and may help to improve the conservation of populations threatened by conflict and over-use. We treated the periods before and after a moratorium on the trophy hunting of lions around Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, as a quasi-experimental opportunity to examine changes in lion socio-spatial behaviour during and after perturbation. Changes in ranging behaviour coincided with the release from heavy mortality from hunting outside the Park and were likely to be due to changes in the perturbation regime, rather than factors such as prey abundance, which did not change over the study period. Lion home range sizes decreased in both sexes after the moratorium. Overlap between groups decreased in males but increased in females. Variation in home range size reduced both annually and seasonally for both sexes. Home range centres became more closely distributed. Lions increased the use of denser vegetation cover classes (30%) and decreased the use of open cover classes (10–30%). Lions increased the use of areas within 2–5 km of water, and decreased their use of the 20 km class. Perturbation therefore appeared to influence the socio-spatial behavior of the lion population. Managers considering the use of moratoria as a conservation tool must anticipate changes in the behavior and distribution of the target species.

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Assessment and mitigation of human-lion conflict in West and Central Africa

Several experiments were carried out in the region to assess and mitigate human-lion conflict. In Pendjari National Park in Benin, enclosures of clay instead of the usual thorny branches reduced depredation figures by half. Around the Niger side of ‘W’ National Park, depredation was estimated at US$138 per household per year and occurred mostly while grazing; people identified improved herding as the most appropriate measure. A livestock corridor through a chain of protected areas has helped reduce conflict in Benoue National Park, Cameroon. Close monitoring and enclosure improvements reduced depredation from 9 to 0 attacks in enclosures and from 60 to 18 on the pastures of six villages around Waza National Park, Cameroon. Cases in Chad and Guinea identified yet other mitigation measures, including the use of dogs, sensitisation over rural radio and using relevant Sourats from the Koran; data on effectiveness are lacking, however.

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Background paper for the West and Central Africa lion conservation workshop

Lion population estimates from two recent publications are compared, highlighting the differences and similarities, and analyzing the methodological differences, especially insofar as they explain differences between the two publications. There is a continental overview, and detailed sections for each West and Central African lion range state. A summary of the 2004 assessment of the lion for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is also included.

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