|Location||Bateke National Park, Gabon|
Lions were considered locally extinct in Gabon – that is, until 2014, when a lone male lion was sighted in Batéké National Park. Since his arrival, the lion has acted as an ambassador and catalyst for increased conservation action in the region. Genetic testing also showed Batéké lions to be most closely related to lions northern Botswana and Namibia. Our partner Panthera is launching a strategic restoration of the lion population by translocating two female lions from northern Botswana to Gabon. The LRF is supporting this project, which includes the construction of an enclosure in the park where the newly arrived lions will acclimatize before release. The reintroduction of lions will be coupled with community engagement to make sure that local people are aware of and benefit from lions coming back to the region. The second grant was provided to help strengthen law enforcement teams to help tackle elevated threats (such as bushmeat poaching) that have been experienced as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.