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Of all the big cats, the lion is perhaps one of the most iconic. It holds a special cultural significance in countries around the world, and has captured the imagination of many artists, writers and film-makers.
Lions once ranged across Africa through to south-west Asia and west into Europe. Today however they are restricted to sub-Saharan Africa, with an isolated subspecies population in north-west India.
Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is working with SGDRN (Sociedade para a Gestão e Desenvolvimento da Reserva do Niassa) and the Niassa Carnivore Project (NCP) to secure the lion population in Niassa National Reserve in northern Mozambique, a stronghold for large carnivores in Africa.
In the short term we are working to reduce lion attacks on people and livestock, through community outreach and construction of more effective defence structures.
Bushmeat snaring is the single biggest threat to lions and other large carnivores in the reserve. Lions are not targeted but are caught as bycatch.
To address this problem, NCP and FFI are monitoring snare mortality and in the longer term we aim to reduce communities’ dependence on bushmeat by increasing food security and boosting alternative income.
We are also working to develop a better relationship between people and wildlife, to increase tolerance and potential economic benefits through tourism.
It is hoped that the conservation actions taken to protect lions in Niassa will also benefit other large carnivores.