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

The Bénoué-Gumti area in North Cameroon-North Nigeria lion conservation project

Background

This 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)
The population trend is unknown and there is no monitoring program, but there is no doubt that the population has declined over the past decades due to the above mentioned threats.

Project area

The 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. By H.H. de Iongh 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).

Objectives

Objectives 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

Approach

This 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.

By R. Buij

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.

Partners

This project is implemented by the Leo Foundation in close co-operation with WWF Cameroon, the Institute of Environmental Sciences of Leiden University and the Centre for Environment and Development Studies in Cameroon (CEDC). Funds for this project will be provided by IUCN NL, the Ecosystem Grant programme through CEDC: the Leo Foundation organizes workshops and network meetings.