Lights are Deterring Lion Attacks So Far
February 23 2016

After installing predator deterring lights at 15 homesteads in the Matetsi Environmental Conservation Area at the end of last year, an ALERT research team has been routinely visiting the homesteads to catch-up with the owners and to download footage from installed camera traps.

Since the installation of the lights there have been no attacks and all homestead owners have given positive feedback, saying that they are now able to sleep at night as the lions seem to be actively avoiding the kraals.  On the night of the 5th of January five adult female lions were caught on camera in the ‘Breakfast’ area.  They did not attempt to attack the kraal, but rather seemed to move away from the flashing lights.  On a later date, three adult female lions were on camera some 19km away in the ‘Sikabelo’ area, and again did not attempt to attack the cattle in the kraal.  

Attacks by lions during the day have been reported on cattle in grazing areas.  Information being gathered on the distribution of attacks, alongside improved livestock husbandry will assist in mitigating daylight attacks. 

The partners will continue to work closely with the community towards resolving the conflict issues with lions and other large predators.

About the human / lion conflict mitigation project

Coventry University, in partnership with ALERT and the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, have funded an initiative to help rural farmers in the Matetsi Environmental Conservation Area (ECA) of Zimbabwe protect their livestock against attacks by wild lions and other large predators.  This Matetsi ECA is an area being managed under the Community Based Natural Resources Management programme, which encourages communities to sustainably manage wildlife resources found within their areas.  ALERT has been working with Dr. James Bennett, an expert in livestock husbandry practices from Coventry University, the Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Management Authority, and affected communities to install flashing lights on kraals located within conflict hotspot areas, alongside camera traps to assess the effectiveness of the lights.  This exercise builds upon the original idea by Richard Turere, who invented the flashing light system to guard against lion raids on livestock in Kenya.

If you are interested in joining the research team you can do so as a volunteer, or as a conservation research intern.

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