We are currently focusing on the study of lion behaviour, dispersal, and feeding patterns within Chizarira National Park. This understanding of pride dynamics, feeding, and movement patterns is crucial to apply the most effective conservation approach for such an iconic species.
Lions are classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Whilst many of the large National Parks in Zimbabwe hold healthy populations of lions, there is limited empirical data available for Chizarira National Park especially on the population dynamics of this species, outside of our data collected from previous research. To date, this project has collared a number of lions of both sexes from 5 prides.The females provide general pride movement, and the male lions typically have higher dispersal and home ranges compared to lionesses.
We use telemetry, spoor counts, and GIS software to locate and track our collared lions. We observe activity budgets, pride behaviour and movement patterns inside the National Park and surrounding communal areas. We also use scat analysis to supplement physical tracking in a bid to understand their feeding habits over time. ALERT aims to integrate our lion research with our community initiatives to target human-wildlife conflict in the surrounding communities including mitigation measures such as predator proof bomas, and establishing early warning systems to allow villagers to take non-lethal precautions such as lighting fires and beating drums.