African Lion (Panthera leo)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 0925676
The African People & Wildlife Fund (APW) is a United States and Tanzanian registered nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and important natural habitats in Africa through a village-based approach. APW aspires to help build the capacity of rural Africans to engage in conservation and sustainable livelihood strategies that promote the dual objectives of wildlife conservation and poverty alleviation. At APW, we emphasize place-based efforts that maximize villagers’ participation and hands-on involvement in all aspects of our work. In addition to wildlife research and conservation projects, APW places a programmatic emphasis on reducing conflicts with wildlife, wildlife-based income generation, environmental education and training, and sustainable community development. APW’s headquarters, the Noloholo Environmental Center, is located in the Maasai Steppe of northern Tanzania, adjacent to Tarangire National Park.
Since its establishment in 2001, APW has targeted the African Lion as requiring critical conservation action. Scientifically, this decision is based upon three principles: (1) lions are experiencing significant continental decline, (2) lions are important indicators of the ecological health of many African environments, and (3) perceptions of lions can significantly influence local attitudes toward wildlife and wildlife conservation. Within Tanzania, the Tarangire ecosystem (20,000 km2; see map) is home to the one of the country’s most threatened lion populations. In this ecosystem, characterized by Combretum – Dalbergia and Acacia – Commiphora woodlands, grasslands and floodplains, lions and the Maasai people live alongside one another outside the borders of Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks (2600 km2 and 330 km2, respectively). People and lions come into direct and frequent conflict when lions attack and kill the Maasai’s livestock and harm people. Intense retaliatory killing of lions occurs on a monthly basis.
APW established the Maasailand Lion Conservation Program in order to address the conservation of this species in an area experiencing intense conflict with lions. This program represents a holistic and collaborative approach to lion conservation that integrates projects focusing on lion research, conservation education, lion-livestock conflict prevention, and habitat planning. Through this program (and its related projects), APW is building the capacity of local Tanzanians to scientifically monitor their lion populations, improving ecological knowledge about lions among Maasai youth and adults, and reducing direct conflicts through a participatory, village-based approach that intertwines lion-livestock conflict avoidance techniques with coordinated land use and habitat planning. In the long-term, we expect this program to result in a stable lion population, improved attitudes toward lions and lion conservation, and an informed and mobilized local populace effectively engaged in sustainable natural resource management.
APW has received support from the Mohamed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund in support of our Living Walls Project, a critical component of the Maasailand Lion Conservation Program. This project will directly decrease the number of lions killed annually in the Tarangire ecosystem by installing APW’s unique, culturally appropriate and environmentally sustainable predator-resistant enclosures, called Living Walls.
Project 0925676 location - Tanzania, Africa