Wildlife Research
Lion Research

Lion are one species that every tourist wants to see when they come to Africa. Unfortunately many lion populations are declining due to changing habitats and increasing pressures from humans. The Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust (VFWT) in conjunction with the Oxford Wildlife Conservation Unit (WildCru) based in Hwange National Park, are collaborating on research of lions in North Western Zimbabwe. HLR have been successful in their research to assist Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority (ZPWMA) in making management decisions that have led to the increase in the lion population in Hwange National Park. It is the goal of this project to ascertain what is happening in other areas of North West Zimbabwe with the lion population.

A major objective of this project is to ascertain where the lions move between different land use types (e.g. national park, forestry, communal lands, safari area, etc) and determine if they are using corridors. With the establishment of the Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA), wildlife that moves through international borders is closely monitored. For North West Zimbabwe, this means it is likely lions will move between Zimbabwe and Botswana, and in some cases even Zambia. All of these spatial movements play a critical role in enhancing the sustainability of the regional lion population. In order to protect these wonderful animals we need to find out where they move and work with local authorities to keep those areas protected.

If lion populations are going to remain healthy, the best chance they have is to find ways to improve their habitat and to prevent conflict with humans. This project addresses the mitigation of conflict in rural communities through the Human Wildlife Conflict Project, as well as puts measures in place to assist anti-poaching efforts to protect all wildlife. Larger TFCA's are one means in increasing the area in which regional populations can survive. Finding the routes wildlife uses throughout the TFCA's is vital to ensuring that those land uses remain designated for wildlife. Lion populations rebound very quickly with increased anti-poaching protection and a good prey base. It is the goal of this project to work on all of the aforementioned issues to improve the long-term success of the lion population in North West Zim.

* One satellite collar costs ~$3000 for us to use for two years