Lions were not known in and around Mpem-Djim National Park (MDNP) until recently when a small group appeared, seemingly having dispersed to the area from the nearest known lion population over 400km away. Although they were present in MDNP historically, the last recorded sightings date from the 1970’s. There are no reliable records of their historical distribution in the region. Communities in the buffer zone have since lost animal husbandry techniques suitable to mitigate livestock depredation by wild carnivores, and at least seven different attacks on dozens of cattle have been reported, leading to attempts to kill the lions.
Human lion conflict mitigation is common practice throughout Africa and across the lion range, and it can be implemented in MDNP too.
The project will carry out the following activities:
- Translocate the lions into MDNP, away from livestock;
- Collar at least one lion for monitoring;
- Implement a line transect for density and threat assessment;
- Combined prey data with scat data to assess prey preference;
- Camera trap grid maintained to monitor lion populations;
- Collect lion scat and analyse for lion DNA and for prey remains (hairs and bones);
- Train ranger patrols on the use of smartphone applications for lion and prey monitoring;
- Community consultation to raise awareness;
- Build bomas (livestock enclosures to protect from lion attacks) to raise community awareness.
This project aims to understand and help manage the lion presence in the park, while the park authorities develop long-term plans for the lion population in MNDP. Through this project, the grantee hopes to achieve the following:
- Understand the movement pattern of lions in MDNP landscape;
- Understand the genetic status of the lions;
- Establish prey abundance and distribution;
- Create and update a database of geo-tagged photos of lions;
- Reduce livestock depredation;
- Better protect and/or increase natural prey densities.