Conservation

The Murchison Falls National Park, located in Uganda, was established in 1952. It includes one of the most impressive waterfalls in the world. This incredible park is home to great biodiversity, including an impressive variety of megafaunas such as lions, elephants, buffalo, hippos, and giraffes. Global conservation, in collaboration with various organizations, has carried out censuses of wildlife, and with this, the contribution of valuable information on the current state of biodiversity. This has aided in creating a strategic plan for the conservation of the area. Global Conservation has invested in technology that facilitates wildlife monitoring, patrolling, as well as training in community tourism with certified guides. An expansion of the park is planned to have wildlife corridors connecting as much as possible to nearby natural areas. With poaching having been rampant in Murchison Falls for decades and causing dour losses in the wildlife population, these are the necessary steps towards long term preservation of the park’s vital environment.

Common name Lion

Scientific name Panthera leo

Status IUCN Vulnerable

Distribution Africa

Population 23,000-39,000 individuals

Trend Decreasing

Threats Habitat loss, illegal trade, conflict with human communities

Photo by Gerardo Ceballos

Photo by Global Conservation

Distribution, habits, and status

The lion is the second-largest feline in the world. It is found across Sub-Saharan Africa, although its range has largely contracted since 1900. It used to be found across Asia, whereas now only a single population survives in the Gir Forest in India. The lion inhabits a wide variety of habitats such as savannas, grasslands, thorn scrubs, scrublands, open forests, but are absent from tropical rainforests and the interior of the deserts. Lions are the most sociable cats. Their sexual dimorphism is an important characteristic of the species. They prey on a wide variety of mammals from giraffes to antelopes. Lion populations have shown a massive decline since 1900, when there were 250,000 individuals alive !!! By 1950, the population had declined to an estimated 100,000 lions. Today, there are around 23,000 individuals. Habitat loss and poaching are two of the main causes of their decline. The illegal trade of its bones and other body parts for traditional Asian medicine, as well as illegal trophy hunting, are also major problems. Some populations are vulnerable to illegal hunting due to the conflict with livestock in rural communities. Populations have become small and isolated, making them more vulnerable to poaching, inbreeding, diseases, and reproduction difficulties. It is found as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and in appendix II of CITES. Fortunately, in Africa, African lion populations are mostly found in natural protected areas. Wildlife tourism is supported in these areas, and the remaining lion populations are helping drive ecotourism. However, the numbers of lions still continue to decrease. There are strategies in place for its conservation which include reducing the lion-human conflict, cracking down on illegal trade and poaching, and preserving their natural habitat.