With lion numbers continuing to dwindle and only 20 000 of these animals left in the wild, lion conservation was recently dealt another crippling blow at this year’s COP17, held in Johannesburg this October. Despite pleas from 9 African countries to raise the status of the African lion to CITES Appendix 1 (trade in specimens prohibited) status, Panthera Leo and most of its parts remain a commodity to be sold legally on the open market.
With no help coming from this quarter, now more than ever the lion and other predators are relying on the tireless efforts of organisations such as The Predator Conservation Trust (PCT) based in the UK.
Established in 2003 by a group of passionate individuals with education as their main ambition, PCT supports several projects in Namibia which aim to conserve carnivores of all kinds. Their primary methods include scientific research, as well as community participation and education towards solving Human-Wildlife Conflict.
Wherever the paths of man and predators cross there is bound to be conflict with lions, hyenas, cheetahs, leopards and wild dogs bearing the brunt of poisoning, trapping and hunting all over Africa.
In Namibia PCT is particularly active in three areas:
Desert Lion Project
Namibia is home to the most threatened lion population on earth – the desert lions of the Kunene which were once thought to be extinct. PCT maintains data on all recorded Kunene lions, and is assisting in the implementation of a National Lion Conservation Strategy for Namibia, in the hopes of lessening predator conflict with their human neighbours.
Brown Hyena Research Project
Brown hyenas are extremely rare worldwide, with only about 5 000 to 8 000 left in Southern Africa, and the ecologically distinct population that lives on the skeleton coast is particularly endangered. Spear-headed by Dr Ingrid Wiesel, this project focusses on finding ways to decrease human-hyena conflict and highlights the value of the hyena as a species in order to ensure their long-term survival.
Kwando Carnivore Project
Here PCT is actively involved in contributing toward the camera traps that are used to monitor and document the movements of hyenas, wild dogs and cheetahs in the Caprivi.
If you would like to help in conserving some of Namibia’s most unique predators by donating to the Predator Conservation Trust you can make a donation online from anywhere in the world and contribute to ensuring the future of these valuable creatures.