9 July 2012
Categories: Homepage News, Big Cats Campaign News
Born Free Foundation and Born Free USA have partnered with WildCRU at the University of Oxford to implement an initiative to protect dwindling populations of lions in West and Central Africa. In collaboration with Leo Foundation and Panthera we have recruited Dr Hans Bauer as Regional Lion Conservation Coordinator for West and Central Africa.
An active member of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group and the African Lion Working Group Dr Bauer has 15 years of experience on wildlife conservation and capacity building in Africa. After completing his doctoral studies on the lions of Waza National Park in Cameroon he has focused his efforts on development of higher education, human-wildlife conflict, management of protected areas, and community-based management of natural resources.
Dr Bauer will focus his efforts on the scattered and fragmented populations that remain in West and Central Africa where lions are threatened by 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 some have been completely eradicated in the last decade.
Lions formerly ranged from northern Africa through southwest Asia, west into Europe, and east into India. Today, lions are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN (and regionally Endangered in west Africa), and with the exception of a few large populations in East and Southern Africa, lion populations are declining rapidly and disappearing from significant areas of their former range. Lions are extinct in North Africa, having perhaps survived in the High Atlas Mountains up to the 1940’s. As few as 1000-2850 might remain in West and Central Africa. The larger populations, with a better conservation prognosis, are in the Benin-Burkina Faso-Niger and CAR-Cameroon-Chad cluster.Lions are now probably gone from Congo, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.