Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Lion Conservation in West and Central Africa

Dr Hans Bauer

In 2012 WildCRU, Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, in partnership with the Born Free Foundation, Born Free USA, the Recanati Kaplan Trust and the Leo Foundation recruited Dr Hans Bauer as Regional Lion Conservation Coordinator for West and Central Africa, in an attempt to protect dwindling populations of lions in the region.

An active member of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group and the African Lion Working Group, Dr Bauer has 15 years of experience in wildlife conservation and capacity-building in Africa. This includes higher education, human-wildlife conflict, management of protected areas, and community-based management of natural resources.

In West and Central Africa lions are under threat from many sources, such as retaliatory or pre-emptive killing to protect livestock. The species is particularly vulnerable to the use of poison which is widely and cheaply available.  Other threats include habitat loss and conversion, and the depletion of prey, which have resulted in a number of lion populations becoming small and isolated – whilst, in the last decade, some have been completely eradicated.

West and Central Africa is thought to hold just 2,800 of the 32,000 or fewer lions estimated to roam the continent in 2012. They are spread over 8 countries: Senegal; Guinea; Mali; Burkina Faso; Niger; Benin; Nigeria and Cameroon (totalling around 3.7 million km2). These lions are distributed throughout the region in 7 fairly distinct and isolated populations thought to contain between 15 and 500 individuals each.

Clearly such small and fragile lion populations are under sever threat. To address this crisis and develop sustainable solutions, Dr Bauer has helped facilitate three regional workshops, in Cameroon, Senegal and Benin, to review information and promote action aimed at lion conservation. Through this work Dr Bauer has developed conservation strategies for these areas to increase lion protection and aid population recovery and it is hoped these plans will now be implemented by the respective management authorities.

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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