"Lions have been hit hardest in West Africa, where local governments often lack direct incentives to protect them," Dr. Henschel commented. "While lions generate billions of tourist dollars across Eastern and Southern Africa, spurring governments to invest in their protection, wildlife-based tourism is only slowly developing in West Africa. Currently lions still have little economic value in the region, and West African governments will require significant foreign assistance in stabilizing remaining populations until sustainable local conservation efforts can be developed."
Luke Dollar, co-author and Grants Program Director of National Geographic's Big Cats Initiative (BCI), which provided partial funding for this work, added, "This research is a major step in helping prioritize funding strategies for saving big cats."
Earlier this year, Panthera became a scientific and strategic collaborator on the National Geographic Society's Big Cats Initiative (BCI) to jointly address the most serious threats facing big cats in the wild and facilitate the direction of financial support to the most efficient and impactful conservation programs. Since then, with the support of the BCI, Panthera's Lion Program Survey Coordinator, Dr. Henschel, has conducted a survey of West Africa's last lion stronghold, the tri-national W-Arly-Pendjari Complex (located in Benin, Burkina Faso, and Niger), whose findings will be soon published.
Panthera also recently assessed the status of lion populations in all critical conservation areas of West Africa, and is currently involved in the development of a lion conservation strategy for the W-Arly-Pendjari Complex.
Read Panthera's recent report, Illegal Hunting and the Bush-Meat Trade in Savann
|Contact: Susie Weller|