The long-term viability of current lion conservation strategies: A role for ex situ reintroduction
by Open Science Repository Natural Resources and Conservation
As the global human population increases, pressure on wildlife and habitat intensifies. Surveys chart the rapid decline in free-ranging African lions (Panthera leo). Available habitat shrinks, forcing lions into smaller and more fragmented populations. In situ attempts to protect and restore habitat and lions are rightly the mainstay of conservation effort for this species. However, they are relatively new and dependent on donor funding. It remains an empirical question as to whether current in situ conservation efforts will provide sufficient success on a continent-wide scale to maintain genetically diverse and viable lion populations before the species becomes critically threatened with extinction. In areas where populations are dramatically reduced or extirpated, wild-to-wild translocations have been adopted to reintroduce the species or support dwindling numbers. Comparisons of wild-to-wild versus ex situ reintroduction strategies for a range of species have led to a prioritising of wild-sources for the African lion on the basis of apparent superior success rate of such methods and apprehension over the effects of captivity on animals for wild-release. This paper outlines some concerns with such evaluations, questions claims of ‘unequivocal success’ for wild-to-wild translocations, and suggests that the African lion may now fulfil IUCN technical requirements for ex situ reintroduction. Keywords:
African lion (Panthera leo), conservation, reintroduction, ex situ, in situ, translocation.
Full textThe long-term viability of current lion conservation strategies: A role for ex situ reintroduction
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