Following the evidence
At a continental scale, the future of Africa’s wildlife looks increasing bleak. Lion, cheetah, rhino, elephant and giraffe populations all suffered catastrophic declines over the past 50-100 years. However, Africa is also home to a scattered collection of success stories, from re-establishment of endangered species in South Africa, Malawi and Rwanda to the apparent turnaround in animal numbers in parts of Chad, Kenya and Namibia. But animal counts are usually too irregular to allow a careful assessment of any conservation effort.
In response to the urgent need for more accurate measurement of wildlife populations, the University of Minnesota Lion Center is working on multiple fronts to create a baseline for understanding what works and what doesn’t when it comes to supporting lion populations and reducing their impact on local communities. We are taking a systemic, evidence-based approach to identifying the best ways to conserve lions and other wildlife with an eye to sharing that information with wildlife managers across the continent.
The Lion Center draws on large-scale studies of lion populations across Africa to pinpoint the most promising conservation strategies. Current projects include efforts to: