‘Extinct’ lion seen in Gabon


This video says about itself:

Incredible new footage of lion, thought to be extinct in the Gabon

9 March 2015

Watch this incredible new footage of a lion, thought to be extinct, spotted in Plateaux Bateke National Park in Gabon, Africa.

The last observation of lions in the area were made in Odzala National Park in northern Congo in 1994 and in Plateaux Bateke National Park in south-east Gabon in 2004.

From Wildlife Extra:

Video proof of a lion in Gabon for the first time since the 1950s

New camera trap footage from southeast Gabon has revealed a male lion in a region of Africa where the species was believed by scientists to be “locally extinct.”

Two camera trap videos taken in the same fortnight depict a single male lion roaming along an elephant path in the Gabonese region of the Batéké Plateau.

This savannah landscape extends across southeast Gabon and into the Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where lions last roamed in any great number in the 1950s.

The footage was recorded as part of a chimpanzee study in Batéké Plateau National Park led by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and The Aspinall Foundation, partners of big cat conservation organisation Panthera.

Immediately following the discovery, Panthera joined with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, The Aspinall Foundation and Gabon’s National Park Authority (ANPN) to mount a new, intensive lion survey in the Gabonese park.

Panthera’s Lion Program Survey Coordinator, Dr Philipp Henschel, explains, “This footage is truly unexpected, and yet wonderful proof that life for the lions of Gabon and the region still remains a possibility.

“The videos demonstrate that the efforts of the Gabonese authorities to protect this landscape, starting with the designation of the Batéké Plateau National Park in 2002 after an initial lion survey in the area, have been successful.”

In 2001 and 2003, Dr Henschel led lion surveys on the Gabonese side of the Batéké landscape, walking several hundred kilometers in search of Africa’s biggest wild cat.

Henschel’s team found almost no wildlife during the expeditions, and camera traps set during the surveys produced more photos of Congolese poachers than of animals.

Habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching and illegal hunting of the lion’s prey species contributed to the loss of lions in the region by the end of the last century.

Until recently, lions were known to be present on the DRC side of the Batéké Plateau. Dispersing male lions can also easily travel 300-400km from their natal area.

The new survey aims to determine if the male lion filmed in Gabon is a solitary individual which may have immigrated from a remnant population in the Malebo region of the DRC, or if it is part of a new, breeding lion population in Gabon.

Survey data confirming the number and location of lions remaining in the unique forest-savanna mosaics of the Batéké Landscape will allow Panthera and partners to devise a strategic conservation strategy and initiatives for this unique and isolated population.

Learn more about Panthera’s lion conservation efforts carried out through Project Leonardo.

Two lion subspecies in Africa, new research


This video is called Lions Documentary National Geographic – The Kingdom of Lion.

Translated from Leiden University in the Netherlands:

African lion has two subspecies

The traditional separation of lions in an African and an Asian subspecies is unjustified, says biologist Laura Bertola. In Africa two subspecies live. PhD defence on March 18th.

Unique position

Lions are found in virtually all of Africa and a small part of India. Until now, they were divided into two groups: an African subspecies, Panthera leo leo, and an Asian subspecies, Panthera leo persica. This format is not correct according to Laura Bertola. They examined the DNA of lions in Africa and India. The animals in West and Central Africa are more like the Asiatic lions than like other African lions. Bertola: “They are clearly different from the lions in the rest of Africa. You can speak of two African subspecies. The unique position of the lions from West and Central Africa calls for even better protection. Especially because these populations are under great pressure. ”

Separated by rainforest and desert

Changes in the African climate over the last 300,000 years separated certain populations,” says Bertola. “The expansion of dense rainforest and dry desert formed a barrier to the lions. The historical isolation which arose so, is still visible in the DNA. From the DNA we can deduce what groups recently have been contacted and which groups have long been separated in their mutual evolution.”

Circus lionesses recovering in South African game reserve


This video from South Africa says about itself:

Two rescued female lions find new home in Africa

22 January 2015

Following years of abuse in a circus in Germany, two rescued female lions put their paws onto African soil. Sisters Maggie and Sonja were rescued by the Born Free Foundation and its partners, their new home Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape.

From Wildlife Extra:

Two lionesses born to circus life get first taste of freedom

Maggie and Sonja have spent their eight years of life performing in a German circus

After eight years in captivity in a German circus, two rescued lionesses are settling into their new home at the Born Free Foundation’s Big Cat Rescue and Education Centre at Shamwari Game Reserve, South Africa.

Maggie and Sonja spent the first eight years of their lives making regular appearances in the circus, performing for the crowds and living in a circus trailer in appalling conditions.

When the animals were confiscated by the German authorities in 2013, the Natuurhulpcentrum, a wild animal rescue and rehabilitation centre in Belgium, stepped in and offered them temporary accommodation.

There, they underwent rehabilitation and treatment for wounds acquired while living in the circus, before being declared fit to travel to a permanent new home in Africa.

Organised by the Born Free Foundation, they travelled from Natuurhulpcentrum to London’s Heathrow airport on January 20, from where they made the 6,000 mile journey across two continents, flying on the inaugural Kenya Airways Dreamliner flight to Johannesburg via Nairobi, and sponsored by the airline.

After touching down in Johannesburg on Wednesday, January 21, they were taken by land on the last leg of the journey to their new home at the award winning Shamwari Game Reserve in Port Elizabeth.

The overland journey was in specially arranged trailers, towed by Land Rover Discovery vehicles, which also sponsored the trip.

At the reserve they were released into a large natural enclosure, where they could begin to experience and get used to the sights and sounds of Africa for the first time.

Shamwari Wildlife Director and vet, Dr Johan Joubert, and Born Free’s big cat expert Tony Wiles, were present at every step of the journey.

Joubert says, “I am very satisfied with the rescue and translocation of the lionesses from Natuurhulpcentrum in Belgium to Shamwari Game Reserve.

“Although it was a long journey for them, they travelled well. It was snowing when they left, two days ago, and now they are adapting to a hot African summer’s day.

“They experienced natural grass and trees today for the first time in their life. I am sure they have a good life ahead of them here.”

Wiles, who has more than 20 years of experience working with big cats, is pleased that the lionesses are already growing in confidence in their new environment.

He adds, “These are relatively young cats, and so despite being a bit tired from the journey, they should adapt quickly to their new surroundings.

“Already they are exploring the enclosure’s natural features and taking the opportunity to stretch their legs and bask in the southern hemisphere’s summer sunshine.

“After spending most of their lives in cramped and squalid conditions, it feels great to be able to offer these girls a safe, happy and natural place to live out the rest of their lives. That’s what it’s all about.”

To find out more about Maggie and Sonja’s new life, meet some of Born Free’s other rescued animals, or make a donation to enable the Foundation to continue its work with some of the world’s most vulnerable animals, visit: www.bornfree.org.uk.

Saving lions in Kenya


This video says about itself:

Lion Protector: Biologist Helps Big Cats and People Coexist

15 December 2014

The fewer than 2,000 lions left in Kenya face many threats, including retaliatory killings by herders who lose livestock to the big cats. National Geographic 2014 Emerging Explorer and conservation biologist Shivani Bhalla started a nonprofit, Ewaso Lions, to help herders learn to live with lions—giving the big cats their best chance of survival.

Saving a lioness from an Indian village well


This video says about itself:

4 November 2014

A critically endangered Asiatic lion has been rescued from a 60ft well after it slipped in during the night.

Dramatic footage shows villagers in remote Gujarat – where some of the only remaining wild prides of the lion species exist – hauling the creature to safety.

The distressed eight-year-old lion can be heard roaring as it stands on a small ledge at the side of the well – which was nearly full with water.

Using some rope tied around the lion’s midriff, about which it is unclear who secured it around the animal, the group of villagers manage to hoist the lion out of the well.