‘Extinct’ lion found in Chad national park


Sena Oura National Park in Chad is home to one of the country’s last wild lion populations.

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) of New York City and the Chadian authorities have released a photo of a female lion.

According to WCS Big Cat Programme executive director Luke Hunter, “The photo shows a prime, very healthy adult lioness, around five years of age.”

“I am sure she is not alone,” he said.

The image, which was taken by a remote camera in the reserve in February, was made public on Thursday.

Dr. Hunter’s finding is cause for considerable hope since prime females are the backbone of any lion population. “This is hugely encouraging because prime females are the foundation of any lion population, and they are not big wanderers: they inhabit areas that have prey and are safe to raise their cubs in,” he added.

Her emergence, he said, demonstrated the revival of the lion population in the Cameroonian national park next door.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s official Red List of Threatened Species, the last lions in Sena Oura perished in 2014.

While the region “saw a period of ruthless, organized poaching more than a decade ago,” the WCS observes that “the governments of both Cameroon and Chad have since benefitted from a very strong commitment to conservation.”

As a consequence, the national parks are now better protected, and the group claims that animal populations are starting to rebound.

Dr. Hunter thinks that there are between 22,000 and 24,000 wild lions left in the world, with the vast majority belonging to the southern lion subspecies found in east and southern Africa.

Northern lions are “particularly endangered and valuable,” he adds, with just approximately 1,000 remaining in west and central Africa.


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