WCP partners with the Lion Recovery Fund

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Launched by the Wildlife Conservation Network and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, the Lion Recovery Fund drives your investment to game-changing actions by the most effective, vetted partners who work collaboratively to bring lions back. Through strategic investments and collaboration with other public and private donors, the Lion Recovery Fund aspires to support a doubling of the number of lions by 2050, the same year when Africa’s human population is expected to double. We are committed to seeing thriving Savannah landscapes where Africa’s people, its economic development and its lions all coexist.

WCP is partnering with the Lion Recovery Fund.


Source: the Lion Recovery Fund : https://www.lionrecoveryfund.org

Investigating the trade in lion body parts

In Zambia, as with several other countries, there is growing evidence of targeted poaching of lions for skins and other body parts—in addition to an increasingly severe threat to leopards associated with poaching for their skins. While this threat to lions does not yet appear to have emerged as a serious challenge on a population level in most places, there is nonetheless concern that it is worsening, and there is a need to understand the phenomenon and get ‘ahead of the curve’. There is a need for better understanding of what the drivers are for poaching of lions for body parts, who the actors are, what the trade routes are, and where the demand comes from. The Lion Recovery Fund has allocated funding Wildlife Crime Prevention (WCP) for an investigation aimed at identifying the trade route of big cat skins, the methods of killing and trafficking, to identify where the products end up. In addition, WCP will also develop a system based on DNA analysis which will allow law enforcement authorities to tell from confiscated big cat parts, both what species of cat it is and which protected area system it came from. This information will then be used to inform law enforcement strategy to better tackle this rapidly growing threat. This project will be conducted as a partnership between WCP, Zambia Carnivore Programme, and Zambia’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife. If this project is a success WCP will work with partners in other countries extend this project to a regional level.

Tackling the demand for bushmeat in Zambia

The illegal bushmeat trade is probably the single greatest threat to wildlife (including lions) in Zambia. Bushmeat poaching has reduced prey populations significantly, even in protected areas. Lions are also killed directly in the wire snares set by poachers to catch ungulates, such as impalas and buffaloes, which lions eat. An increasing proportion of bushmeat poaching is done for commercial trade to urban areas. A recent study on the bushmeat trade in Zambia demonstrated the limited understanding of consumers of bushmeat regarding the impacts of their consumption on wildlife populations, on prospects for tourism in Zambia and thus for job creation. Wildlife Crime Prevention is creating an awareness campaign to educate the public in Zambia about the negative impacts of consuming bushmeat sourced from poachers. Part of their campaign will be to educate people of the difference between illegally sourced ‘bushmeat’ and legally and sustainably produced ‘game meat’.