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SCI Foundation believes that to save the African lion, science-based research should be at the core of every conservation strategy. We work constantly to provide facts and generate sustainable management plans for the future.

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SCI Foundation Has Been Working On This Issue Extensively With Range Nations In Africa, To Prevent An Endangered Listing Under The ESA From Harming Lion Conservation.
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Lions By Numbers



Fact 1

There are approximately 34,000 lions inhabiting 3.4 million square kilometers of range that spans across 27 African countries (Riggio et al. 2012).

Fact 2

It is estimated that 24,000 lions live in "strongholds." To qualify as a stronghold, an area must be: 1) a government protected area or private hunting concession area; 2) have a population of at least 500 lions; and 3) the population must be either stable or increasing (Riggio et al. 2012).

Fact 3

Lion populations are reported to be stable or increasing in Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe ("CITES Periodic Review of the Africa Lion." Presentation. African Wildlife Consultative Forum. November 2012). The majority of all lions living in Africa are found in these countries.

Fact 4

Lion experts have identified over 66 Lion Conservation Units (LCUs) in eastern and southern Africa. An LCU is defined as an area containing a population of lions large enough to be potentially self-sustaining over the next 100 years or an area containing fewer lions, but with conditions that make an increase in lion numbers likely (IUCN SSC Cat Specialist Group, 2006, pg.17).

Fact 5

Tanzania hosts the largest lion population in Africa, estimated to be 16,800 individuals (Mesochina, Pascal, et al. Conservation Status of the Lion in Tanzania. Paris, France. June 2010).

Fact 6

Land devoted to wildlife conservation is the single largest form of land use in Tanzania ("Wildlife Management in Tanzania." Presentation. African Wildlife Consultative Forum. September 2012).

Fact 7

The ESA petition claims that the lion has been over utilized for recreational (hunting) purposes, and specifically mentions Tanzania. However, one of the main countries visited for lion hunting, Tanzania only harvested an average of 1.2% of the lions ranging in the country over the past four years. (Mesochina, Pascal, et al. Conservation Status of the Lion in Tanzania. Paris, France. June 2010). This statistic does not demonstrate overutilization.


Fact 8

In 1995 there were only 20 lions in Northwest Namibia. Today, there are over 130 lions in that region alone (Kasaona, John. "Namibia's Rebounding Wildlife Populations." Presentation. United States Senate Briefing. March 2014).

Fact 9

According to a report on lion mortality by lion scientist Dr. Craig Packer, disease is currently not a threat to lion populations. Packer reviewed the science on three different diseases and found that disease presence was either declining or the disease had minor effects on health and longevity. (Packer, Craig. "Anthropogenic Causes of Lion Mortality." Presentation. USFWS Lion Workshop. June 2013).

Fact 10

Between 1990 and 2008, lions attacked 952 Tanzanians. Two-Thirds of those attacks were fatal (Packer, Craig. "Anthropogenic Causes of Lion Mortality." Presentation. USFWS Lion Workshop. June 2013).

Fact 11

Well regulated hunting programs are recognized by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) as a top conservation tool. Lion hunting quotas are set at levels to ensure they are non-detrimental to their respective populations.

Fact 12

Revenue generated from the hunting industry in Tanzania goes toward wildlife conservation programs, anti-poaching efforts, conservancy/range maintenance, and supports other development projects. (Wildlife Management in Tanzania." Presentation. African Wildlife Consultative Forum. November 2013).

Science Makes A Breakthrough Age Estimation of African Lions Panthera leo by Ratio of Tooth Areas
Estimating Age of African Lions Individual variation in dental characteristics for estimating age of African lions
Presentation to US FWS View our presentation to the US Fish & Wildlife Service
Lion Status Report: Mozambique View the report on the conservation status of the lion in Mozambique
Lion Status Report: Malawi View the report on the conservation status of the lion in Malawi
Lion Status Report: Tanzania View the report on the conservation status of the lion in Tanzania
Lion Status Report: Zambia View The Zambian Lion Study: 2006
Lion Status Report: Zambia View The Zambian Lion Study: 2009

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