Research

TKPP: Core lion research

Since 1999 the project has been monitoring the long term demographics and population trends of lions in Hwange National Park (HNP), in Zimbabwe. We have monitored the lion population in a 5000 km2 study area in the North and North-east of HNP, providing critical information for effective long term conservation of the species. Over the 16 years that the study has run in Hwange, 46 prides and 43 males or male coalitions have been monitored and we have built up an extensive ID database for lions in the park which includes over 800 individually identified animals over the course of the study. Population monitoring is achieved in a number of ways. Firstly, the project uses radio and GPS collars to tag and follow individuals in the population over extended time periods. This allows us to accurately calculate measures of survivorship as well as study detailed aspects of their behaviour. The second method used for population monitoring is detailed observation of pride structure, births and deaths to give a detailed picture of population dynamics. Our third monitoring protocol involves population surveys in the wider region using spoor (track) and camera trap methods.

radio collared lion

Radio-collared male lion, photo by D. Bauer