Photo: Big Cats Initiative Grantee Rudi shows drawings of big cats to villagers

Big Cats Initiative grantee Rudi van Aarde has villagers identify their latest wildlife sighting.

Photograph by Rudi van Aarde

Lion Population Survey

Grantee: Rudi van Aarde, Ph.D.

About the Project

Conservation management depends on adequate baseline knowledge, the application of relevant ecological principles, and the development of management capacity. Sufficient information is available for some lion populations, especially those in protected areas. However, little is known of lions beyond these areas, especially across rural sections in Zambia and Mozambique where few people live.

This project, led by Big Cats Initiative grantee Rudi van Aarde, Ph.D., proposes to conduct surveys and fill in knowledge gaps in two important locations: along the northern shores of Lake Kariba in Zambia, and in the Tete province of Mozambique.

Interviews will be used initially to pinpoint where lions may be located before conducting call-up stations to enumerate prides. The team will also collect information on human/lion interactions and prey densities based on transect surveys. This data will be used as baseline information to develop management approaches that could enhance the persistence of these populations.

This project is unique in that it will gather the full range of information regarding lions in these study areas: their range, population size, and threats. The subsequent report will be particularly relevant in both countries as they prepare their National Lion Action Plans.

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