Here are 3 of the 10 new (male) lions the Gorongosa team have put on the map this year.
Our lion population is an important indicator of ecosystem health - lions are sentinels - when conditions are poor (conflict, poaching) they are among the first to be impacted and it is highly visible. But when the living is good they recover and breed fast - and that is what we are finally seeing in the Park after years of hard conservation work.
9/10 of these young male lions have never been snared over their lifetimes - this is a STRONG indication of success as males are very susceptible to snaring given their behavior. For comparison, prior to 2015 1/3 of our lions were either snared, maimed or killed by human activity, it was just all too common. The tide has been turned with an uncompromising dedication of the rangers out there working day and night - that story told in part in our recent film "On the Front Line - Rangers of Gorongosa" that wil be aired internationally on PBS.
This research is essential. Every lion counts and tourism, operations and science teams help the Park's conservation team with this critical data by detecting and also photographing these lions. Paulo Tonecas and Mércia Ângela were able to quickly follow up and satellite-collar this group of 3... they will likely lead us to new prides. Each lion is formally identified and then tracked over it's life-span - over time we will help to document one of Africa's most successful large-carnivore and ecosystem rewilding projects.