Research Papers

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Distribution and abundance of lions in northwest Tete Province, Mozambique

The continued existence of large carnivores such as the lion (Panthera leo Linnaeus, 1758) outside of protected areas is uncertain. Such populations are the least studied and the most rapidly declining. Mozambique contains roughly 8% of Africa’s lions, nearly half of which persist outside of protected areas. We estimated the distribution and abundance of lions in an unprotected section of northwest Tete Province and identified potential threats to the local persistence of lion populations. Structured interviews of local people indicated lion presence and human-lion conflict. We used interview results and anthropogenic land uses defined via Google Earth to delineate lion range digitally. We estimated population size using two methods of density estimation. We estimate that 185 lions inhabit roughly two thirds of the study area, including a likely transfrontier population with Zambia. Lion populations are resident and possibly recovering. Proper management of limiting factors, such as human-wildlife conflict, may stimulate and sustain lion population growth in the study area.

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Genetically Divergent Strains of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus from the Domestic Cat (Felis catus) and the African Lion (Panthera leo) Share Usage of CD134 and CXCR4 as Entry Receptors

The env open reading frames of African lion (Panthera leo) lentivirus (feline immunodeficiency virus [FIVPle]) subtypes B and E from geographically distinct regions of Africa suggest two distinct ancestries, with FIVPle-E sharing a common ancestor with the domestic cat (Felis catus) lentivirus (FIVFca). Here we demonstrate that FIVPle-E and FIVFca share the use of CD134 (OX40) and CXCR4 as a primary receptor and coreceptor, respectively, and that both lion CD134 and CXCR4 are functional receptors for FIVPle-E. The shared usage of CD134 and CXCR4 by FIVFca and FIVPle-E may have implications for in vivo cell tropism and the pathogenicity of the E subtype among free-ranging lion populations.

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Livestock depredation and mitigation methods practised by resident and nomadic pastoralists around Waza National Park, Cameroon

onflict between humans and lions Panthera leo is a key factor driving population declines of lions in Africa, especially in communal lands and on the edges of small protected areas. We assessed this conflict in Waza National Park, Cameroon, in 2008 through an interview survey. A total of 207 resident and 174 nomadic pastoralists were interviewed. Results indicated high levels of livestock depredation around the Park, with attacks occurring most often at night. Lions were economically a substantial threat accounting for total losses of EUR 100,000 per annum. Per household, resident pastoralists lost one cow and nomadic pastoralists two cows per annum, equating to c. EUR 260 and 520, respectively. To mitigate these losses resident pastoralists used enclosures for nocturnal protection of their livestock more than nomadic pastoralists, who tended to herd livestock more during pasture. Improved mitigation methods pertaining to herding practice, the use of enclosures and the presence of dogs resulted in a reduction of 25% livestock depredation and 50% cattle depredation. These methods could be further improved, however, education and awareness about the ranging behaviour of lions during different seasons and periods of the day is important for all pastoralists. Additionally, park management needs to be improved through effective law enforcement.

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