The Bénoué-Gumti area in North Cameroon-North Nigeria lion conservation project
BackgroundThis project will cover a range of activities related to the conservation and management of lions in transfrontier parks between Cameroon and Nigeria. The following activities are covered:
- Human Lion Conflict (lion killing in retaliation for livestock depredation)
- Agricultural encroachment (human migrations from the overpopulated North, extension of cotton fields)
- Livestock encroachment (increase in livestock with eradication of sleeping sickness, large-scale nomadic movements across the ecosystem)
- Prey depletion (very active bushmeat trade)
- Ineffective conservation action (lack of law enforcement capacity, doubtful sustainability of hunting regime, inaccessibility, lack of knowledge)
Project areaThe Bénoué-Gumti area is an extensive conservation complex, consisting of four National Parks connected by hunting zones or conservation areas, with a total surface of approximately 30 000 km². The Parks are, from East to West; Bénoué, Bouba-Ndjidda and Faro in Cameroon and Gashaka-Gumti in Nigeria. The isolated lion population in Waza National park, situated in the extreme North of Cameroon and interactions with Nigerian lion populations, will be included in this project. This ecosystem can be characterized as Sudan-Guinea Savannah, the transition area between the dry Sahel Savannah to the North and the rainforest ecosystems to the South. It consists of relatively thick woodland with pockets of grassland, floodplains and highland, and is home to species such as lion, spotted hyena, leopard, African wild dog, giraffe, elephant, hartebeest, Lord Derby's Eland, buffalo, Buffon's kob, reedbuck, various duiker species and hippopotamus, among many others. The lion population in this area is estimated at 200-300 individuals, a guesstimate derived from intensive surveys in Bénoué NP (40 lions) and Bouba-Ndidda NP (60 lions).
ObjectivesObjectives of this project:
- Monitoring of large carnivore populations (size, movements, threats)
- Local capacity building
- Introduction of best practices to safari hunting
- Improvement of law enforcement
- Mitigation of lion livestock conflict
ApproachThis project covers as main activities 1) case studies in north Nigeria and in North Cameroon, 2) conflict mitigation and raising awareness among the local people about boma improvement, and 3) monitoring movement patterns of lions in the Waza-Logone and Bénoué-Gumti ecosystem. An awareness campaign will be conducted among local resident villagers and nomadic Bororo.
In addition the movements of five GPS-GSM collared lions will be monitored, possibly during transfrontier movements. In May 2008 a total of three lions have been collared with GPS download collars and their movements are followed by a Cameroonian PhD researcher.