Wild Cat Species
— African Wildcat
— Niokolo Koba National Park
Senegal’s Niokolo-Koba National Park is of outstanding global importance for the conservation of threatened, iconic wildlife. It harbors one of the only four remaining populations of West African lions, a distinct genetic clade, and what is likely the largest remaining population of leopards in West Africa. Alongside big and small cat species such as serval, caracal and African wild cat, the park is home to Africa’s northwesternmost populations of elephants and chimpanzees and is a stronghold for some of the last surviving populations of African wild dogs and western giant elands. However, heavy poaching over the past 30 years, illegal gold mining and premature drying up of water pans due to exotic plant invasion have taken a dramatic toll on the park.
Panthera was first introduced to the area’s conservation potential in 2011 when the management authority the Direction of National Parks (DPN) invited us to conduct the park’s first-ever lion survey. Only 10-15 individuals remained in the park at the time. Today, there are more than twice as many lions in the Park. We immediately understood that protection efforts in the park would not only benefit lions but a whole suite of threatened species. This work is helping Panthera realize its vision of restoring lions and other wildlife to this precious landscape.
Over the past decade, we've built a strong working relationship with the government of Senegal, formalized through a long-term agreement with the DPN to strengthen park management and security. We provide direct support to ranger teams for effective large-scale patrols, the rebuilding and expansion of the park’s infrastructure and intensive ecological monitoring, including monitoring of lions using GPS-satellite collars. Program activities started in 2017 and in just a few years, our support model has resulted in the doubling of lion numbers, positive population trends for large prey, and the first elephant records in a decade. We have also rehabilitated more than 250 km of roads and created more than 40 km of new ones, as well as a new ranger post and operations base equipped with a hangar, airstrip and surveillance plane.
Chele Martinez Marti
Chele Martínez Martí
Operations and Surveillance Coordinator
Lang Halima Diedhiou
Assistant Surveillance Coordinator
Ndèye Nio Sow
Mouhamadou Modi Ndiaye
Field Technician for Wildlife Monitoring
Marine Drouilly, Ph.D.
Regional Monitoring Coordinator