Friday, 31 May 2013

Fenced reserves more effective at conserving lions than unfenced.

A new study published in this month’s Ecology letters compares the effectiveness of two approaches to protecting African lion populations; physical separation of animals in fenced reserves compared to unfenced protected areas.
The researchers looked at the effects of contrasting management practices on African lion population densities and population trends across 42 sites in 11 countries across the species’ range, including West and Central Africa, where lions are on the verge of extinction. Their results showed that lion populations in fenced reserves were significantly closer to their estimated carrying capacities than unfenced populations. Whereas fenced reserves could maintain lions at 80% of their potential densities on annual management budgets of $500/ km2 , unfenced populations required budgets in excess of $2000/ km2 to attain half their potential densities.
The study indicates that physical separation is an effective strategy for conserving African lions and highlights the challenges faced by protected area managers in controlling the impacts of human activity inside national parks, and when promoting human-wildlife coexistence projects.

Packer C, Loveridge A, Canney S, Caro T, Garnett ST, Pfeifer M, Zander KK, Swanson A, MacNulty D, Balme G, Bauer H, Begg CM, Begg KS, Bhalla S, Bissett C, Bodasing T, Brink H, Burger A, Burton AC, Clegg B, Dell S, Delsink A, Dickerson T, Dloniak SM, Druce D, Frank L, Funston P, Gichohi N, Groom R, Hanekom C, Heath B, Hunter L, DeIongh HH, Joubert CJ, Kasiki SM, Kissui B, Knocker W, Leathem B, Lindsey PA, Maclennan SD, McNutt JW, Miller SM, Naylor S, Nel P, Ng'weno C, Nicholls K, Ogutu JO, Okot-Omoya E, Patterson BD, Plumptre A, Salerno J, Skinner K, Slotow R, Sogbohossou EA, Stratford KJ, Winterbach C, Winterbach H, Polasky S, 2013. Conserving large carnivores: dollars and fence. Ecology Letters 16:635-641.

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