Threats to the Lion
As humans develop wild habitats, lions and humans come in increasingly closer contact. Livestock begins to replace the lion’s natural prey, fueling human-lion conflict in which lions are killed in retaliation or because of their perceived threat to human livelihood.
Rampant bushmeat poaching exacerbates this conflict by depleting lions’ natural prey. In a vicious cycle, lions drawn to the calls of prey snared by poachers often become ensnared themselves, succumbing either to starvation or fatal wounds.
Additionally, trophy hunting and the illegal hunting of lions are further contributing to lion population declines. Increasingly, lions are being poached for body parts (bones, teeth, claws and skins); such products are predominantly traded in Asia. The trade in lion bones is driving the direct poaching of lions in certain parts of Africa and could have devastating impacts on lion populations that mirror similar impacts on wild tiger populations.
How Panthera is Helping
Panthera is devoted to the conservation of the world’s wild cats. We are on the front lines, working with local authorities to stop poaching while promoting coexistence between people and cats.
Removing Wire Snares
Wire snares – loops of inconspicuous metal that constrict and trap the legs and necks of unsuspecting animals – are silent killers. It’s unknown how many animals die each year in Africa from snaring, but the number is estimated to be in the tens of thousands.
Our staff works tirelessly to remove snares from the landscape in our conservation regions. Panthera and our partners have successfully removed dozens of these metal loops directly from ensnared lions, cheetahs, and wild dogs in Kafue National Park. Thanks to our efforts, we are seeing fewer and fewer snared animals. As our programs continue to grow, so too will the safety of these incredible carnivores.
Disrupting Illegal Activity and Poaching
Panthera developed the “PoacherCam,” a custom-designed camera trap that can detect poaching activity and alert law enforcement immediately. We’ve deployed thousands of these cameras in parts of Southern and Western Africa.
We also developed a security training program to help rangers and park guards detect and safely stop poachers. The training programs are among the most comprehensive offered today, with skills ranging from basic military patrolling to intelligence gathering in rural environments to advanced tactical training in rapid response operations.
The lion is synonymous with wild Africa. Yet few people realize that the species has undergone catastrophic declines, from as many as 200,000 wild lions in Africa a century ago to about 24,000 today.