First For Wildlife

Promoting conservation, outdoor education, and humanitarian programs worldwide.

Weekly Update: Tanzania Lion Project Launches in Serengeti

lionpic3

SCI Foundation, in collaboration with the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute and the Carnivore Ecology Laboratory (CEL) at Mississippi State University, has begun what will be the most accurate population survey in the history of African lion research. Researchers have recently completed the initial stages of   field work in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

The Tanzania Lion Project aims to modify and combine existing field techniques and recent modeling approaches to assess lion abundance across a range of population and habitat conditions. “Our goal is to develop an accurate, precise, repeatable, and affordable survey framework that can be used by interested governments to estimate lion abundance and monitor population trends,” said Dr. Jerrold Belant, Principle Investigator and Director of CEL.

The study design accounts for sources of variation in lion abundance not previously considered with traditional call-in and track survey techniques.  Researchers have also integrated improved technology by testing the use of filtered spotlights and forward-looking infrared equipment during call-in surveys to compare their effectiveness in detecting lions.

Lions seen from a infrared camera

Lions seen from an infrared camera

The study also incorporates new variables into a lion abundance model. To produce this innovative model, researchers are merging environmental factors that influence lion occurrence with an additional set of variables that influence the ability to detect lions or lion sign. This rigorous approach will more accurately estimate the probability of lion occurrence and abundance throughout the study area.

Researchers selected Serengeti National Park’s savannas and woodlands for the initial surveys because of known high lion abundance and a rich history of lion population research. This area has a large lion population, as well as excellent accessibility and infrastructure for the scientists and support staff. Tanzania is home to roughly half of Africa’s lions. The plan is to expand the survey efforts into other portions of the country in the coming years. This research will be used to improve the conservation of African lions and their habitat, and promote science-based management decisions.

TZ Lion Research

Researchers survey lion tracks alongside dirt road

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 154 other followers

Contact

(202) 543-8733
jgoergen@safariclub.org

Twitter

%d bloggers like this: