The Lion Recovery Fund is humbled to support these initial projects, based on the merit of their ideas and initiatives to recover lions and restore their landscapes.  

Watch here for more LRF-supported initiatives, with the portfolio of hope for lions growing year on year.  

Your support to the Lion Recovery Fund will enable even more of the best efforts by the most effective organizations to bring lions back.

Lions in the Tarangire/Manyara system are threatened by two key issues: retaliatory killing as a result of human lion conflict and due to conversion of land around the protected areas.

Dinder National Park is a huge protected area of 10,000 km2 on the border with Ethiopia. Across the border an additional 5,000 km2 or so of protected areas exist, including the Alatash National Park.

Malawi is a country where until recently, lions were at real risk of going extinct. During 2017, the LRF provided support for the reintroduction of lions into Liwonde and Majete national parks.

The illegal bushmeat trade is probably the single greatest threat to wildlife (including lions) in Zambia. Bushmeat poaching has reduced prey populations to a fraction of their former size, even in protected areas.

There is a plan underway to establish a lion database that will be used to provide a continually updated assessment of the abundance and distribution of lions in Africa. This information will be highly valuable for conservation planning and for assessing the impact of conservation investments.

Zimbabwe contains a healthy population of lions. However, there are a number of protected areas in the country which have become gradually depleted of wildlife over recent years, due to the acute funding shortages arising from the economic crisis that has affected the country.

Kenya holds one of Africa’s largest and most robust lion populations. However, little is known about the status and distribution of lions in the country – precluding effective conservation planning.

Kafue National Park and surrounding game management areas represent one of the sites with the greatest potential for recovery for lions on the continent. There has been increasing NGO activity in the ecosystem in recent years to help support the efforts of the wildlife authority to tackle key threats to wildlife such as poaching. Lion numbers in Kafue have become depressed due to bushmeat poaching, which has reduced prey numbers and in some cases resulted in the mortality of lions in snares. In addition, there is concern that lions may be being targeted to some extent by poachers for body parts for the illegal wildlife trade. The LRF provided a grant to support a process of developing a clear law enforcement strategy for Kafue National Park that will maximize the efficiency with which available resources are utilized, and which ensures that stakeholders work together in a coordinated and effective manner.

Niassa is currently experiencing severe pressure on wildlife populations through poaching, illegal mining and illegal logging.

An LRF grant to Honeyguide is helping build the local governance and management systems and improve law enforcement to help create an area where people and lions thrive long term. The idea is to build capacity of the community governance and management of the area such that it can become self-sustaining in future (which is a distinct possibility due to the potential to derive revenue through the sale of carbon credits).

With a grant from LRF, Conservation Lower Zambezi is going to expand their anti-poaching efforts into the Rufunsa area—which is expected to reduce the prevalence of bushmeat poaching, allowing prey populations and ultimately lion populations to increase.

By working together and providing the necessary resources, LRF is helping Zimbabwe develop a national lion conservation plan.

Africa is reaching a critical stage; with expanding human populations and increasing demands for land; protected areas and other wildlife areas will soon face enormous pressures to be reallocated for other land uses.

LRF funding will help the Ruaha Carnivore Project develop a grid of camera traps used to measure wildlife abundance, which in turn will be used as the basis for performance payments to communities for protecting wildlife.

Collecting and analyzing growing evidence of targeted poaching of lions for skins and other body parts in Zambia.

The LRF has provided a grant to WildAid to launch one of their renowned communications campaigns in Tanzania. WildAid is engaging national celebrities and local champions to promote conservation and foster pride for lions at both the public and political level.

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. 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.

CLAWS works in the Wildlife Management Areas north of the Okavango Delta. This area is of key importance to lion conservation, both as a result of housing part of one of the continent’s largest populations, but also as a connectivity pathway with nearby Namibia and Angola.

The Zambezi Society component aims to secure the Charara Safari area, an area that’s been depleted of wildlife. This project will ensure connectivity between Matusadona and Lower Zambezi, will rehabilitate 617 square miles of prime habitat by tackling bushmeat poaching and other threats (thus allowing lions to increase in number) and also has significant potential to allow for the creation of a second major tourism hub in Zimbabwe.

Luengue-Luiana National Park is the largest park in Angola at about 30,000 square miles, roughly twice the size of Switzerland. Two years ago, Panthera completed a survey of carnivores in the park and found only 30 or so lions remaining.

The work of NGOs to engage communities in addressing human-lion conflict in southern Kenya have significantly improved human tolerance for lions in the region, helping promote coexistence and increase lion populations.

With the development of the successful community conservancies model in Namibia, lions have expanded significantly outside protected areas in the northwest region of the country. The lion population here now numbers approximately 120 individuals.

Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) is providing support to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) for the management of a vast suite of protected areas in Zambia. These areas are of great importance for lion conservation.

The Liwonde project has now reached the stage where it is ready for the reintroduction of lions (a species which was locally extirpated there). APN has received a grant from the LRF to cover the costs of that reintroduction.

The vast 3,513 square mile Niokolo-Koba National Park, an area 10 times larger than that of New York City, holds the last remaining population of lions in Senegal.

Snaring and poaching are huge threats to lions. By securing protected areas in Kafue National Park, we can save more lions.

Hwange National Park is home to a large and growing lion population. However, the buffer areas around Hwange suffer from high levels of snaring for bushmeat.

The Lion Recovery Fund has granted funding for increasing law enforcement in the complex, for understanding lion population sizes and movements, and for appraising the impact of trophy hunting on lions in the area.

Panthera recently secured an agreement with the Zambian government to provide financial and technical support for law enforcement in Kafue National Park.

South Sudan still contains significant lion populations but receives very little conservation attention due to the ongoing civil war. The country is still home to one of the largest terrestrial mammalian migrations (involving >1 million white eared kob), though populations of sedentary wildlife have taken a hammering in recent years from bushmeat poachers. WCS have requested funding from the LRF for their work in Boma and Badingilo nationals parks. The request is for: a) supporting and strengthening law enforcement to tackle poaching, via the provision of technical and operational support to the wildlife authorities, supporting intelligence networks and supporting the wildlife crime unit in Juba to help with prosecutions. b) building public and political support for lion conservation through systematic engagement with local, regional and national stakeholders.

The West African lion is listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List. There are only four known populations of the West African lion.

Chad’s Zakouma National Park is becoming an incredible story of recovery thanks to the collaboration between the NGO African Parks and the Chadian government. From a situation where poaching was rife and wildlife populations declining steeply, the area is now secure with increasing wildlife populations.

Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda has recently experienced a major spike in retaliatory killing of lions.

Even areas of high lion populations like the Serengeti need effective law enforcement and support to tackle snaring and human-wildlife conflict.

Zambia’s Luangwa Valley is an important stronghold for lions. However, the species is threatened by a wide-range of threats; most notably depletion of prey as a result of snaring.

The LRF has approved a grant to support a collaboration between Greater Limpopo Carnivore Program and Limpopo National Park to tackle the issue of lion poaching.

Over recent years there has been a marked spike in targeted poaching of lions for their body parts. However, little is currently known about the trade – the source of the demand, the trade routes, the types of body parts most in demand, or the nature of the players involved in the trade.

BioCarbon Partners and Lion Landscapes have established a project in the game management areas that link the Lower Zambezi and Luangwa Valley protected area complexes in Zambia.

All Projects