Tags: lions | ethiopia | sudan

Lions Found in Ethiopia Raise Hopes of Big Cats in the Sudan

Image: Lions Found in Ethiopia Raise Hopes of Big Cats in the Sudan

A camera-trap image of a lion. (Born Free website)

Wednesday, 03 Feb 2016 06:37 AM

Lions found in Ethiopia recently have raised hope that the big cats have also survived nearby in the Sudan after they were thought to have been killed off there.

The Born Free Foundation website said on Monday that an expedition to a remote park in Ethiopia near the Sudan border documented the existence of lions through pictures and identifying lion tracks.

Conservationists had believed that lions disappeared from the area in the last century after their habitat was destroyed, said the BBC News. African lions have reportedly declined to half of their population in the 1990s.

Hans Bauer, a lion conservationist who led the expedition to Ethiopia's Alatash National Park, told Born Free that enough lions were found there to believe that they also exist in adjacent Dinder National Park in the Sudan.

"Lions are definitely present in Alatash National Park and in Dinder National Park," said Bauer, who was working for the Oxford University's Wildlife Conservation Research United. "Lion presence in Alatash has not previously been confirmed in meetings at national or international levels."

"Considering the relative ease with which lion signs were observed, it is likely that they are resident throughout Alatash and Dinder. Due to limited surface water, prey densities are low, and lion densities are likely to be low, we may conservatively assume a density in the range of one to two lions per 100 kilometers."

The International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Endangered Species said last June that while the lion population had increased in southern Africa, the species remained on its vulnerable list because its population was so small in other parts of the continent.

Born Free said the African lion population can only be found in 8 percent of its historic range in Africa.

"The confirmation that lions persist in this area is exciting news," said Born Free's chief executive, Adam Roberts. "With lion numbers in steep decline across most of the African continent, the discovery of previously unconfirmed populations is hugely important – especially in Ethiopia, whose government is a significant conservation ally."

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Lions found in Ethiopia recently have raised hope that the big cats have also survived nearby in the Sudan after they were thought to have been killed off there.
lions, ethiopia, sudan
374
2016-37-03
Wednesday, 03 Feb 2016 06:37 AM
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