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 Animals  Uganda Project #40133

Protecting Lions

by David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
Protecting Lions

Thank you for donating to our Protecting Lions project. Our ground-based conservation partners, the Uganda Conservation Foundation (UCF) who David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) has long supported, have been working on the collaring, research and understanding of key lion populations in Uganda to ensure the species ecology is better understood and therefore protected.

The year 2020 has been fraught with challenges, in light of the global pandemic, which has forced us all to adapt, one way or another. Despite the difficulties we are now faced with, we are proud to say that our relationship is as strong as ever with our ground-based conservation partners and that our combined efforts are continuing to make a difference to some of the most world’s most vulnerable wildlife populations and communities living alongside them. We are incredibly grateful to the brave wildlife rangers, who even amid the current crisis, are risking their lives on the frontline of wildlife crime and working tirelessly to maintain vital conservation efforts.

The UCF team have been working to estimate the population density and viability within South Murchison Falls Conservation Area and Kidepo Valley National Park, and in turn to better understand how they can be protected. Their research includes collaring, monitoring and assessing lions by veterinarians in order determine the exact habitat size and range of Uganda’s lions and therefore evaluate the threats they face.

 

Your support, your impact: 

Unfortunately, part of Karenga Community Reserve (south of Kidepo Valley National Park) is threatened by a takeover from district government. In partnership with the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the Uganda Conservation Foundation (UCF) Carnivore & Scavenger Programme has agreed to investigate the situation and continue to monitor lions and other big cats in the area. We were delighted to find out that, after a period four hard days in the bush, the UCF team managed to collar one male lion, providing valuable insight for years to come. In March this year, DSWF also funded for the UCF to carry out another operation returning to Karenga, where further lion observations were made.

Furthermore, through DSWF’s long-term funding, UCF has been able to engage with local communities and requested local leaders and herdsmen to identify young individuals to be trained into wildlife warriors. Inspiring and educating communities that live side by side with wildlife, gives us hope that these young individuals may one day become the conservation heroes of the area.

From everyone here at DSWF, thank you in advance for your support at such a critical time. With your help, DSWF can continue to fund UCF and their incredible work to protect the lions of Uganda.

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Happy New Year from the team at David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF)!

 

In 2019 we marked 35 years since David Shepherd founded DSWF and celebrated the incredible milestone of together raising over £10million to protect endangered wildlife across Africa and Asia.

 

As we head into 2020, we pledge to continue our vital work fighting against extinction, through our support for the incredible conservation partners we work with.

 

We hope you will continue to stand with us in our commitment to fight, protect and engage on behalf of endangered wildlife for many years to come.

 

Please take a moment to watch the following film which shows our commitment to the future of wildlife: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHQTWECcIvI

Together we have the power to continue David Shepherd’s legacy, give a voice to the voiceless and help end extinction before it’s too late. Thank you for your support.

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Thank you for donating to our Protecting Lions project. Our ground-based conservation partners, the Uganda Conservation Foundation (UCF) who David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) has long supported, have been working on the collaring, research and understanding of key lion populations in Uganda over the last few years to ensure the species is protected and better understood. This work will help drive the efforts and strategies of both conservation organisations and the wildlife authorities across the country and region. 

UCF recently undertook an aerial survey in the Murchison Falls National Park and surrounding protected management area as part of a wider, long-term park recovery programme we have been supporting, which helped identify important but highly vulnerable clusters of herbivores. 

The sightings of lion prey species act as key indicators for the overall health and sustainability of lion populations and the overall health of the park and surrounding areas. Two law enforcement wildlife ranger post developments in the same area, supported and funded by DSWF, have allowed for the increased deployment of seven anti-poaching rangers for the first time and the installation of a digital radio system, vastly improving communication for the wildlife authority who are now better equipped to research and protect lions in this key landscape.

As a result, we are delighted to share the news that signs of lion sightings in the area and two lionesses themselves have been reported.  It was unknown if a pride was in residence in the area as they are very reclusive and not regularly seen due to a long history of poaching in the area before increased law enforcement operations and development.

Whilst not a surprise to the rangers and team, this area has long been a poaching and snare hotspot which has been a major cause of lion deaths. Due to the increased law enforcement presence in the area and the new sightings, it’s been proven that by securing the locations and habitat, the wildlife feels safe and protected in their expansion and more regular overt sightings can be recorded.   

With your ongoing support, the wildlife authorities and our local partners are hoping to double lion populations in the area over the next five years. This will be a huge milestone and something we look forward to sharing progress with you about.

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Thank you for donating to our Protecting Lions project. Our ground-based conservation partners the Uganda Conservation Foundation (UCF) have sent us an incredible update which we’d like to share with you. They reported to us that after a tough mission, working with the national wildlife authority, through southern Murchison Falls across six nights, they have successfully managed to collar two new lions.

 

On the 15 February, the experienced team arrived in southern Murchison Falls – conditions meant they were able to access an area called the ‘honeymoon track’ – where lions were known to be regularly.

The experienced team included Michael Keigwin (UCF), Dr Erik Erycel (veterinarian) and Dr Patrick Okello (veterinarian). The programme was also supported by two UCF cars to get them around the area and transport the equipment.

After four days and nights of not getting close enough to the lions the team had to resupply, refuel and get sleep. The lions were being heard but they are not used to people or cars – and were very wary and shy. ‘lion calling’ during the collaring mission resulted in dozens of hyena arriving, showing a least that the hyena populations are very healthy!

The following morning, the team drove many miles off-road to the closest areas where lions were being heard – only one of the vehicles was able to move through the terrain, which was rocky, rough and involved crossing more than one river.

Finally, on the sixth night, two lions were successfully darted and collared, one female and one adolescent male.

Both were from the same pride, and both had female collars put on. The adolescent male was a little too small for the full male collar and ran the risk of the collar slipping around the neck, hampering the GPS signal.

The adolescent male was included in the collaring exercise to better understand their use of the region and behavioural patterns. The team also suspects that in the next six months he will be pushed out of the pride by the two large males and will have to explore southern Murchison Falls to establish his own pride home range. His movement patters will be interesting to monitor to see the extent of the movement across the region.

Understanding how prides use the regions they live in, how the interact with communities close to the park boundaries and their behaviour patterns is vital information which conservationists and national parks can use to prevent poaching and protect their populations. Find out more about DSWF’s funded work with UCF and lions.

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Organization Information

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

Location: Guildford, Surrey - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @DSWFwildlife
Project Leader:
Theo Bromfield
Guildford, Surrey United Kingdom

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