Lions in Tanzania
Reducing conflict between humans and wild carnivores in Tanzania
Tanzania is home to an estimated 50% of the remaining lions and some of the last viable populations of wild dogs of sub-Saharan Africa. Unfortunately though here is an all too familiar story of human settlements spreading, resulting in conflict with the resident wildlife.
African lion – Vulnerable to extinction
Estimated population- 32,000
One of the challenges we face in protecting the African Lion and other large carnivores in the long-term is managing the conflict that occurs with local people. A rapidly increasing human population means that lions’ homes are being increasingly being lost to grazing and farm land. Prides end up living in ever smaller and more isolated areas. And these are ever-closer to areas where people live, meaning persecution is sadly inevitable.
The Maasai Steppe in Northern Tanzania is one of the few remaining places that still has good numbers of lions. However with the seasonal migration of wildlife between the National Parks there is a very high level of conflict, especially in communal village lands. In these areas lions are often killed in retaliation for the loss of the herders’ livestock – whether they have been killed by lions or not. Almost 20% of lions are lost this way.
We are supporting the Tarangire Lion Research Project to help put in place a community-based programme to reduce human-lion conflict.
This is done by training Maasai warriors to become ‘Lion Guardians’. These men are then employed to actively protect livestock, rescue lost animals that could be attacked by lions and therefore prevent retaliatory lion killings. They closely monitor the lions and other predators and can then provide an early warning system against livestock attacks. Our Lion Guardians also hold workshops to improve local attitudes towards lions.
By protecting lions in the community area, this initiative will help protect and encourage areas outside the national parks and make it safe for lions to cross areas inhabited by people.
In addition, the Lion Guardians are also working hard to collect information on the lion populations in the Maasai steppe to keep a closer eye on what impacts their efforts are having.
This hard work is beginning to pay off as livestock losses are being reduced and more lions are living out their years away from danger. This project is possible thanks to our generous donors- can you help save lions today?
The project has found their education programme and population studies to be the most effective conservation tools this year. Project leader Bernard sent us a list of their recent achievements, made possible by your donations to PTES.
- Using radio collars and other counts 139-150 individual lions were sighted in
eleven prides from Tarangire and Lake Manyara NP and the adjacent areas of Manyara
ranch and Burunge WMA.
- We have had four village meetings and a number of study visits with dozens of villagers and two primary schools. The aim of these was to educate people in the area about living in harmony with wildlife.
- Two retaliation lion hunts have been stopped by village leaders saving the lives of the local lions.