Emerging Threat to Lions in Africa
The majestic African lion once roamed across the entire continent. Today, you can only find them within the sub-Saharan part of Africa - with 80% in eastern or southern regions. This admired animal is listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species - with their numbers declining primarily due to anthropogenic factors. Land conversion by humans into agricultural and residential spaces has resulted in significant habitat loss and acted as a catalyst to many of the other threats lions face. Loss of wildlife spaces and increased demand for bushmeat has led to prey depletion and increased human-wildlife conflict as lions search for other sources of food (i.e. livestock). Additionally, the increased interactions brought on by dwindling habitat and prey sources exposes these majestic creatures to diseases carried by domestic carnivores, such as dogs or cats.
One such disease, canine distemper, resulted in the loss of one-third of a lion population in Tanzania. This disease, as well as others like rabies, have caused fatal epidemics in multiple species of wild carnivores.
VIEW is bringing our proven wildlife health template to Rwanda. Working with local partners, we are developing a comprehensive wildlife health program to include best practice protocols, disease risk assessments, biosurveillance, and the implementation of a health database for Rwandan wildlife.