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AWF Charlotte Fellow Conducts Vital Research on Lions in Tarangire National Park

  • Monday, January 31, 2005

African lions and their continued survival are among today's major international conservation issues. Scientists believe lion populations have declined from a high of 100,000 two decades ago to just 23,000. AWF's Bernard Kissui is pursuing research critical to a key population of lions in Northern Tanzania's Maasai Steppe.

Thanks to financial support from AWF's Charlotte Fellow's program, Kissui is researching the demography of lions and human-lion conflicts in and around Tarangire National Park. The Tarangire lions move into and out of the park in response to seasonal herbivore migration. Little is currently known about where the lions go, what they do and what types of threats they face outside of the park. With a growing human population surrounding the park, there are an increasing number of encounters with hunters and farmers. Kissui's research will explore the generational consequences of these interactions for the local lion population.

Kissui has attached radio collars to one animal in each of six lion study groups to obtain detailed data on lion movement patterns. He is also conducting interviews with Maasai villagers living around Tarangire. With a better understanding of the nature and type of lion-human interaction, conservation efforts can be made more focused and effective.

Bernard Kissui is a graduate of Tsoamaganga High School in Iringa and the University of Dar es Salaam. In a field long dominated by expatriates, Kissui's firsthand knowledge of culture, wildlife-human conflict, and local communities is an invaluable asset. AWF is proud to support Bernard Kissui and other African researchers in conservation.

> Learn more about Bernard's conservation research with lion in the Tarangire ecosystem.

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