Mozambique Lion Populations

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    Aug 21, 2009
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    Mozambique Lion Populations

    Lion populations have risen by around 60 percent in just seven years in Niassa National Reserve say researchers Colleen and Keith Begg who run the Niassa Carnivore Project (NCP). In order to safeguard Niassa's lions, the Beggs work with the people of the Reserve and partner with communities to build predator-proof livestock pens and mitigate poaching including the use of snares (which often unintentionally catches predators like lions). "I think we should never forget or minimize the high costs that local communities have to bear when living in close proximity to dangerous animals like lions and elephants," Colleen Begg said. "The costs may be too high in some areas and we will need to be pragmatic and agree that not all lion populations can be saved. A lion attack is a horrific event that is never forgotten and losing livestock is like losing your savings. In some areas, we can get it to work but it depends on the numbersæºow many lions, how much natural prey and how many people." The Begg's have been working in Niassa Reserve in collaboration with the Mozambican Reserve Management Authority and Ministry of Tourism since 2003. They survey the lion population every 3-4 years across the whole Reserve and also monitor lions in an intensive study area of 600 km2. Over this period the lion population in Niassa Reserve has increased from between 600-800 lions in 2005, to 1,000-1,200 lions in 2012. This makes Niassa National Reserve a stronghold for lion conservation in Africa and one of less than 10 areas in Africa that still have more than 1,000 lions. Begg also mentioned that according to their estimate more than 40 lions a year are killed in the snares deployed for bushmeat.

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