No longer king of the jungle: New fund to aid Africa's lionsAugust 11, 2017 10:09am

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Senegal's Niokolo-Koba National Park is home to fewer than 50 lions after years of poaching decimated not only them but also their prey. Small patches of lion skin are sold at local fetish markets for $10, and their bones have a thriving market in Asia.

Sightings have become so rare that it once took researchers conducting a lion survey in the area two months before they spotted one of the big cats. Conservationists, however, believe the park could one day rebound.

"This landscape is still in fantastic shape," said Philipp Henschel, West and Central Africa regional director for the lion program at Panthera, a global wild cat conservation organization. "This area could potentially, if well protected, harbor between 400 and 500 lions."

A $150,000 grant from a fund launched this week by the Wildlife Conservation Network and The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is aimed at better equipping Niokolo-Koba's park rangers for those efforts.

The Lion Recovery Fund is initially providing $800,000 toward bolstering lions' habitat across the continent, from Senegal in the west to Tanzania in the east as well as Zambia and Malawi in southern Africa.

"Lions in Africa are facing a whole range of human threats that are increasing in scope as the human and livestock populations grow," said Peter Lindsey, conservation initiatives director for the Wildlife Conservation Network.

Many wildlife areas "are really suffering from a lack of funding and resources," he said.

The situation is particularly dire in West Africa, where the lion sub-species has been classified as "critically endangered."

Only about 400 lions remain there out of the total 20,000 worldwide, Henschel said. About 90 percent of those in West Africa are in a protected area that spans parts of Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger.

Startup support for the Lion Recovery Fund came from The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which previously has partnered on elephant conservation issues, Lindsey said. They are pledging that 100 percent of donations to the fund will go directly toward work on the ground, without overhead costs.

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

In this Friday, Aug. 11, 2017, photo provided by The Wildlife Conservation Society and Fisheries Administration, Siamese baby crocodiles rest at the Koh Kong Reptile Conservation Center in Koh Kong, Cambodia. WCS and FIA announced on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, that the eggs of nine Siamese crocodiles, listed on IUCN's red list as critically endangered have hatched. The total population of Siamese crocodiles, around 410 wild adults, of which 100-300 live in Cambodia, making it the most important country for the conservation of this species. (Wildlife Conservation Society and Fisheries Administration via AP)
Rare crocodile eggs hatched at Cambodian conservation center
FILE - In this April 10, 2008 file photo, a ballet of three North Atlantic right whale tails break the surface off Provincetown, Mass., in Cape Cod Bay. Marine conservation groups say the endangered North Atlantic right whale is having such a bad year for accidental deaths in 2017 that all the mortality could challenge the species' ability to recover in the future. There are thought to be no more than 500 of the giant animals left. Biologists say there have been 12 known deaths of the whales since April, meaning about 2 percent of the population had died in just a few months. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File)
Accidental deaths of endangered whale threatens its survival
This photo provided by the Humane Animal Rescue shows a bald eagle that Pennsylvania wildlife officials say is suffering from lead poisoning but is in guarded condition. The bird was letting people get close to it on a wildlife trail near Apollo over the weekend. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports it was taken to a wildlife center in Saegertown, where blood tests confirmed it had lead poisoning. (Humane Animal Rescue via AP)
Wildlife officials determine bald eagle had lead poisoning
US officials: Canadian man tried to ship live snakes in mailFederal prosecutors in New York say a Canadian man attempted to ship live snakes to China through the mail
Loss of sea ice leads walruses to early appearance in AlaskaThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says hundreds of Pacific walruses have begun coming ashore along Alaska's northwest coast and it's likely because sea ice in the Arctic Ocean already has receded beyond the outer continental shelf
Ecuador: 300 tons of marine animal remains found on shipAuthorities in Ecuador have detained 20 Chinese crewmembers aboard a ship found near the Galapagos holding 300 tons of frozen marine animals _ some from species in danger of extinction.
This component is currently unavailable.

Related Searches

Related Searches