logo By H.H. de Iongh By H.H. de Iongh By H.H. de Iongh


Loop mee met de Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions

In ongeveer 115 wereldsteden wordt op Werelddierendag de ‘Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions’ gehouden. In Nederland begint het event om 14:00 uur in Amsterdam. Ben jij begaan met het lot van ernstig bedreigde diersoorten zoals olifanten, neushoorns en leeuwen? Wil jij ook bijdragen aan het signaal om de slachting van en illegale handel in deze ernstig bedreigde diersoorten te laten stoppen? Doe dan mee aan deze vreedzame oproep tot actie! Je kunt je aanmelden via de facebookpagina https://www.facebook.com/events/749437031753852/?fref=ts of volg het event op Twitter via @NLmarch4ERL .

A photographic reference system of micro- and macrostructure of hairs of several East African species

In 2013 two students of the University of Leiden studied the diet of lions of Nairobi National Park (Nicholas Beveridge) and Amboseli National Park (Joriaan van den Hoogen) in Kenya. This project was developed within a framework of collaboration between the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) Leiden University in the Netherlands, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the Leo Foundation. Hairs were collected from preserved specimens from Naturalis Biodiversity Centre in Leiden, the Netherlands. Hair shape, size and colour was analyzed macroscopically with a stereo microscope. This reference collection includes several East African species and was compiled to support the identification of prey species of the Lion (Panthera leo leo) through scat analysis. To read more, click here

Lions collared in Nairobi National Park

In january 2014 two lions (a male and a female) have been collared with Satellite collars in Nairobi National park by a joint team of Kenya Wildlife Service, scientists from the Institute of Environmental Sciences Leiden and the Leo foundation funded by the Safaricom foundation. In Nairobi national park a population of some 35 adult lions survive. Since the park is only around 117 km² lions regularly leave the park into the nearby urban suburbs of Nairobi in the North or into the rural livestock areas in the South. This has resulted in increasing conflicts between people and lions in recent years, with an increasing number of lions being killed or translocated as a result of conflicts. The joint research programme between Kenya Wildlife Service and Leiden University intends to map the conflict areas and to develop a scientific database to support an early warning system for conflict-prevention and conflict management.

Ranger KWS honoured for his work for nature conservation

On 23 August 2013 in a meeting with all staff of Kenya Wildlife Service in Head Quarters Nairobi, the Chairman of the Leo foundation Hans de Iongh presented the Van Tienhoven Award to James Makuber Saoli, ranger of KWS. James Makuber Saoli has worked for more than 15 years for nature conservation in the field in order to protect Kenya´s wildlife. He and his team have been involved in multiple anti-poaching campaigns and James has risked his life on numerous occasions. During the past five years James has contributed in particular to the protection of Amboseli national park where he has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to conservation. The Amboseli lion conservation project, which has received funding from the Van Tienhoven Foundation. James Makuber was attacked by a buffalo in February 2013 and severely injured. He was brought to hospital and has recovered from his injuries. During a short presentation Hans de Iongh highlighted the background and objectives of the Van Tienhoven foundation and mentioned that the award, which consists of a medal a certificate and a present, is given also to honour James and his whole team of rangers for the important conservation work they have done.

Foundation Leo presents itself during Africa Day in Gaia Zoo

Foundation Leo has attended the Africa Day in Gaia Zoo on Sunday the 12th of August. There were many visitors due to the beautiful weather. Our purpose for attendance at the Gaia Zoo was to inform the public of our projects and to attract publicity for our causes. Below are a few photos of this day.

"Sun" and "Moon", two new lions have been moved to North Cameroon

Cameroon has been fortunate in November 2011 to receive two lions for educational display. The two lions of Etosha, have been moved from the Zoo and Botanical Garden of Mvog-Betsi in Yaoundé to Garoua, Cameroon. The lion (Sun) was sent to the zoo of Garoua and the lioness (Moon) was housed at the Wildlife School of Garoua. These two lions are aged about three (3) years. The ceremony for the receipt of lions was chaired by the General Secretary of the Northern Region representative of the Governor. The presence of the "Sun" and "Moon" in Garoua is expected to contribute to education and awareness of the importance of lion conservation in the savannah ecosystem. - For the zoo: during the various visits of the public and schoolpupils, the people will be informed about ecology, behavior and the status of the lion and the necessity and importance to protect them. A guide will be able to arouse the curiosity of visitors and thereby create awareness. - For the Ecole de Faune: the presence of the "Moon" is first important to learning, for courses of mammalogy and morpho-physiology. It will also be an opportunity for trainees of the EFG to observe the behavior of a lion in captivity: his meal times, rest, the amount of meat they eat per day, etc. It is not the intention to breed with these lions and in fact the Minister of MINFOF has requested to experts to prepare a feasibility study for a possible captive breeding programme of Cameroonian lions. LCI has started a consultation to take a position on this initiative and to consult experts of the IUCN CBSG.

New cubs born in Waza NP and in Bénoué NP

Lion guards active under the Large Carnivore Initiative, funded by the National Geographic Big Cats Initiative and Prins Bernhard Nature Fund have reported new born cubs both in Waza National park and in Bénoué National Park. In Waza NP the population of lions has been estimated at around 14-21 lions and lion guards now have reported that they have observed at least two groups of lions with cubs in the park; one group near the water point of Mbilé with 3 adults and 2 cubs, one group near the water point of Takawa with 3 adults and one group near the water point of Niwadji with 5 adults and 3 cubs. This suggests that recently at least 5 cubs have been born in Waza NP, in spite of the low lion numbers observed and the very low heterozygosity suggested for this population. However the lion guards also reported that lion human conflict are still very intense, in the past weeks lions have killed almost 10 cows and 2 horses near the village of Mbilé alone. Local people also suggest that the number of lions has increased. Lion guards in Bénoué NP also reported at least three new born cubs observed near the parks headquarters Buffle Noir, situated at the Bénoué river. In Bouba Ndjidda national park a lioness was reported, which was killed by the steel snare. This was probably an accidental kill by poachers targeting other large mammals, but it is worrying that lions are now also caught by snares and the parks guards will step up their anti poaching patrols in the coming weeks. The observations by lion guards confirm that the national parks in Cameroon still provide protection to lions and allow reproduction, in spite of the low number of lions remaining. While the lion numbers in Waza NP in the Extreme North Province have been estimated to be 14-21 lions, a recent publication suggested that lion numbers in the national parks and hunting zones of the North Province have dropped significantly. The previous estimate of 200 lions is therefore no more valid and a number of between 120-150 lions remaining seems more realistic. The Minister of MINFOF, mr Elvis Ngolle Ngolle, has recently retired during a cabinet reshuffle and LCI will step up its efforts to have a dialogue with the new Minister and his advisors on the need to conserve lions and other large carnivores as "healthy ecosystem ambassadors" in the North of Cameroon.

Article on impact of trophy hunting in Cameroon published in Journal Biological Conservation

Recently an article was published by Croes et al. covering the impact of trophy hunting on lions in north Cameroon. The publication is based on work by research group of Leiden University, CEDC, Ecole de Faune Garoua and University of Dschang, in collaboration with the Department of Nature Conservation of Tschwane University in Pretoria, SA, the Painted Dog Conservation, Zimbabwe, and the Ministry of Forest and Wildlife (MINFOF), Cameroon. The article suggests that in West and Central Africa large carnivores have become increasingly rare as a consequence of rapid habitat destruction and lack of resources for protected area management. Three years of research covered the Bénoué Complex (23,394 km²)in northern Cameroon, which is a regionally critical area for large mammal conservation. In the complex lions(Panthera leo), leopards (Panthera pardus) and spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) are formally protected in three national parks and 28 hunting zones. Over-hunting may be having a strong additive effect precipitating declines in large carnivore numbers across the complex. The research group used a coarse level track index method to estimate the relative abundance of these three species both in hunting zones and national parks. The results were interpreted with respect to ungulate abundance, and hunting impact. There was no significant difference between the densities of medium to larger species of ungulates in the hunting zones and the national parks, and no difference in leopard and spotted hyena densities in the respective areas. However, lions occurred at significantly lower densities in the hunting zones, and even in the national parks occurred at significantly lower densities than prey biomass would predict. The researchers suggest that a moratorium on lion hunting is urgently needed to allow lion populations to recover. To read more, click here

Carnivore livestock conflicts around Pendjari Biosphere reserve

Recently an article was published in the Journal Oryx on Human-carnivore conflict around Pendjari Biosphere Reserve, northern Benin by Sogbohossou et al,.. This article reported some important facts relevant for the management of carnivore-human conflicts in West Africa. The article suggests that close proximity between humans and large predators results in high levels of conflict. Sogbohossou et al,. investigated the extent of, and factors leading to, this conflict through focal group and individual interviews in all villages around Pendjari Biosphere Reserve, northern Benin. Livestock losses from 2000 to 2007 (n=752) were reported to be mainly caused by spotted hyaena (Crocuta crocuta) (53.6%), baboon (Papio anubis) (24.8%), and lion (Panthera leo) (18.0%). These predators mainly predated sheep and goats (52.1%) and pigs (42.3%), with lions being the main predators of cattle (78.9%). Lion and hyaena diets were more diverse than that of baboons, which killed only small stock. The level of conflict increased during 2000-2007. Predation rate differs between predator species and is significantly influenced by month, rainfall of the month before the predation event, and length of the dry period in a year. The geographical position of the village, the distance of the village to the park and the number of herbivores legally killed every hunting season also influenced predation intensity. The findings suggest that improvement of husbandry techniques and education will reduce conflicts and contribute to improved conservation of these threatened predators. To read more, click here

Safari hunting in Africa has an impact on social structure and population density of lion populations

Recent PhD research by the Beninese researcher Etotpé Sogbohossou has demonstrated that safari hunting may have serious impact on lion social structure and lion densities. This is the result of a PhD study which Etotépé will defend on 25 October at Leiden University. Etotépé did four years of field research in the Pendjari Biosphere reserve (North Benin) under the Institute of Environmental Sciences Leiden. Her research showed that lion densities inside hunting zones were significantly lower (1.3 lions per 100 sq km) than the densities in the national park (2 lions per 100 sq km). Also the average group size of lions in the hunting zones was significantly lower (2.2) compared with the lion group size inside the national park ( 2.7) and the sex ratio inside hunting zones ( one male to 0.8 females) was also significantly different compared with the national park (one male to 1.4 females). The results of this research confirm that safari hunting in Africa may have a serious impact on lion populations. In a recent article in press with the Journal of Biological Conservation by Barbara Croes and colleagues from Leiden university, covering the impact of safari hunting in Cameroon, demonstrated that lion densities inside hunting zones were significantly lower (0.56 lions per 100 sq km) compared with national parks (1.81 lions per 100 sq km). In this research the densities of other predators like leopard and hyena and of large herbivores did not differ significantly. The researchers from Leiden University conclude that especially a combination of indiscriminate shooting of male and female lions by safari hunters (Benin) in combination with the high quota and off take of lions (Cameroon) may have caused these significant differences. A recommendation has been prepared to the Ministers responsible for fauna management to consider a moratorium on lion hunting. Lions in West- and Central Africa are genetically different from lions of East and southern Africa and are threatened with extinction according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Large Carnivore Initiative receives funds from National Geographic

Recently the National Geographic Big Cats Initiative has pledged to support the Large Carnivore Initiative for W and C Africa for the period 1 September 2011 until 1 July 2012. The support will cover part of the salary of the LCI network coordinator, the salaries of four lion guards in Cameroon, new motor cycles, mobile phones and support to a range of lion conservation activities such as monitoring of lions, boma improvement and awareness and information campaigns with local villagers. The project will be implemented in close collaboration with the Centre for Environment and Development Studies in Cameroon (CEDC) and the Garoua Wildlife College (EFG) under agreements signed by these partners and the Leo foundation and in partnership with the Ministry of Fauna and Forests (MINFOF). The aim of the project is in the first place to secure the Lion Conservation Unit of Benoue- Gashaka Gumti and the adjacent Hunting Zones, where an estimated maximum of 200 lions are still present. The project will also monitor other large carnivores in the area, such as spotted hyena, striped hyena and leopard and it will investigate possible illegal trade in lion and leopard skins in the region.

Villagers of Njidwadji confirm illegal trade in Waza lion cubs

Based on a report of the two lion guards employed at Waza NP with funds from the Mohamed Bin Zayed species Fund, we received an independent confirmation from the field that illegal trade in lion cubs to Nigeria has indeed taken place, in spite of denials from the Gombe State University in Nigeria. During fieldwork end 2010 and beginning 2011 the lion guards visited the village of Njidwadji, adjacent to Waza NP. These villagers stated that they had observed that Nigerians has illegally taken at least two lion cobs from within Waza NP and transported them to Nigeria. The villagers also stated that they had observed seven lions close to their village during 2007 and 2008, but this lion group had now disappeared. The frequency of livestock raiding by lions has also gone down, with the latest attack reported from October 2010. Also villagers from Andirni and other villages close the Waza NP confirm that lion numbers have been drastically reduced during2009 and 2010. They fear that lions may disappear from the park. The present warden of Waza NP has now implemented an action plan to save Waza NP, with anti poaching patrols and improved management efforts. Additional funds are needed to support the warden is his important work.

Assessment and mitigation of human-lion conflict in West- and Central Africa

Recently a paper from Hans Bauer, in cooperation with Hans de Iongh and Etotepe Sogbohossou was finally published in "Mammalia". This article reviews several experiments which were carried out in West - and Central Africa and these experiments assess and mitigate human-lion conflict. In Pendjari National Park in Benin enclosures of clay instead of the usual thorny branches reduced depredation figures by half. Around the Niger side of 'W' National Park, depredation was estimated at US$138 per household per year and occurred mostly while grazing; people identified improved herding as the most appropriate measure. A livestock corridor through a chain of protected areas has helped reduce conflict in Benoue National Park, Cameroon. Close monitoring and enclosure improvements reduced depredation from 9 to 0 attacks in enclosures and from 60 to 18 on the pastures of six villages around Waza National Park, Cameroon. Cases in Chad and Guinea identified yet other mitigation measures, including the use of dogs, sensitisation over rural radio and using relevant Sourats from the Koran; data on effectiveness are lacking, however. These projects illustrate a varied suite of mitigation options and demonstrate that mitigation can be effective if the method is judiciously chosen and adapted to local circumstances. To read more, click here

For the last one and half months Amboseli National park and the surrounding group ranches received some amount of rain, this has once again triggered herbivore dispersal. From the movement map of the lions, it is clear the that the lions continuable move in and out of the park in search for prey.

New map of lion movements in Amboseli NP from September 2010 is posted.

Collaring of lions in Amboseli NP ,

A lion re-collaring in Amboseli National Park was conducted between 1st and 7th July 2010. This lion collaring was implemented is part of the Amboseli lion project.A total of five lions were collared (two re-collared) comprising of two males and three females. All lions were in good health, despite the low prey availability that has contributed to their wideranging and movement pattern during the last rainy season.To read more about the entire collaring operation click here

Status of Painted dog Lycaon pictus in the Bénoué Ecosystem ,

The African Wild dog (Lycaon pictus) and the Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) are functionally extirpated in North Cameroon. Other large carnivores such as lion, leopard, striped hyena and spotted hyena, have become rare and survive in small populations. This is the result of a research programme on large carnivores implemented by the Institute of Environmental Sciences of Leiden university, in collaboration with the University of Dschang in Cameroon and the Painted Dog Foundation in Zimbabwe, funded by WWF Netherlands and WWF Cameroon in the Bénoué Complex, north Cameroon. Read more....

Lion waves the Dutch Flag

Research worker Hans de Iongh and his family have gained a particular experience during a field visit to Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya on Tuesday 29 June. Their land cruiser had a Dutch flag attached to their bumper to express their support to the Dutch Soccer team in the World Cup in South Africa. On the morning of Tuesday 29 June, they observed a group of six lions, which were walking on the road. A lioness walked up to the land cruiser, bit off the flag of the bumper and walked around with the flag in her mouth. The lioness walked around waving the Dutch flag. This moment was of course captured and photographed by tourists. Hans de Iongh and his family think that this could be an omen that the Netherlands will win the World Cup.

By H.H. de Iongh

By H.H. de Iongh

Three lions have been collared in Pendjari National Park, Benin. The collaring was led by two of our board board members. Read more....

Two student reports are posted. One master theses focusses on the factors influencing lion home range, movement and diet in Waza NP. And the other report focusses on the ecology and the diet of lions in Amboseli NP.

New maps of lion movements in Amboseli NP from June till October 2009 are posted.

In The Spotlight: Leo Foundation - Lions, skilled predators of wild and domestic prey. Read here more.....

Three lions were collared this summer in Amboseli National Parc, Kenya. Read here more.....

A new map of the lion movement in Amboseli National Parc from March 2009 was posted. Four of the five collared lions are still transmitting. Watch their movement pattern in and around the Amboseli NP here.

Here you can read more over the collaring of two lions in Pendjari National Park, Benin. This project was visited in January by one of our board members.

A photo gallery has been made, which contains photos of camera traps in Waza National Park, Cameroon. During camera trapping, meat is hung in trees to lure large carnivores to the cameras, when an animal or human passes the infrared beam of the camera a photo is made. The photo gallery can also be reached via downloads.

The Leo Foundation is established.