Conflict with humans and livestock

Africa’s growing human and associated livestock populations cause great problems for the survival of predators like lions for the same reasons that bears wolves, lynxes and pumas were destroyed in north America and Europe.   Recent data from Kenya suggest that 17 of 18 radio-collared lions in Laikipia were killed as retribution for the raiding of livestock [1].  Data from Botswana indicate that 68 lions were destroyed in a relatively small area bordering the Moremi Game Reserve over a period of four years (P. Kat, Okavango Lion Conservation Program, pers. comm.). Around Zakouma NP in Chad 32% of villages and 63% of nomadic settlements reported regular conflicts with lions through preying on livestock [2]

Lions are destroyed intentionally by either direct or indirect methods.  Those commonly used include shooting the culprit on a carcass and luring lions to poisoned bait.  Such destruction is ongoing and persistent despite some legislation prohibiting this killing. Prosecution of individuals involved is practically non-existent.

The lion is perceived by local communities as having negative economic value, either through loss of life and livestock or through loss of income-generating opportunities restricted by protection of the habitat and wild prey lions need to survive. Because area-specific lion conservation measures have often been developed without consultation and active participation of local communities, their needs and capacities have not been taken into account, and there is a resulting lack of support for lion conservation and often a management failure…Outside reserves, legal protection may have questionable value when it concerns a species that comes into conflict with people, often in remote areas with poor infrastructure. Under such circumstances, legal protection may serve only to alienate people from conservation activities.” [3]


[1] Woodroffe R, Frank LG (2005) Lethal Control of African lions (Panthera leo): local and regional population impacts.  Animal Conservation 8:91-98 (pdf)

[2] Bauer H, de Longh H, Sogbohossou E (2010)  Assessment and mitigation of human-lion conflict in West and Central Africa.  Mammalia 74: 363-367. (pdf)

[3] IUCN SSC Cat Specialist Group (2006) Conservation Strategy for the Lion (Panthera leo) in Eastern and Southern Africa.  Eastern and Southern African Lion Workshop, Johannesburg, 8 – 13 January 2006.  IUCN SSC Cat Specialist Group report, 55 pages. (pdf)

Further reading

For a discussion article on the value of compensation schemes to mitigate human / wildlife conflict click here

Managing the conflicts between people and lion: Review and insights from the literature and field experience (pdf
Chardonnet P, Soto B, Fritz H, Crosmary W, Drouet-Hoguet N, Mesochina P, Pellerin M, Mallon D, Bakker L, Boulet H, Lamarque F (2010)  Wildlife Management Working Paper 13, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome 2010

People and wild felids:  conservation of cats and management of conflicts. (pdf)
Loveridge AJ, Wang SW, Frank LG, Seidensticker J (2010) In Biology and Conservation of Wild Felids, MacDonald, D., D.W. Macdonald, A.J. Loveridge 2010, Oxford University press. pp 161 – 195.

Human Wildlife Conflict in Africa:  An overview of causes, consequences and management strategies (pdf)
Lamarque F, Anderson J, Chardonnet P, Fergusson R, Lagrange M, Osei-Owusu Y, Bakker L, Belemsobgo U, Beytell B, Boulet H, Soto B, Tabi Tako-Eta P (2008) Working Paper for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Wildlife-community conflicts in conservation areas in Kenya. (pdf)
Okech R (2011) African Journal on Conflict Resolution 10: (2) 65-80.

Sitting on the fence? policies and practices in managing human-wildlife conflict in Limpopo province, South Africa. (html
Anthony BP, Scott P, Antypas A (2010) Conservation Society [serial online] 2010 [cited 2011 May 2] 8:225-40

Rearticulating the myth of human-wildlife conflict. (pdf)
Nils Peterson M, Birckhead JL, Leong K, Peterson MJ, Peterson TR (2010) Conservation Letters 3: 74-82.