By Dr. Peter Lindsey, Director of the Lion Recovery Fund
The Lion Recovery Fund's mission is to protect lions, their habitats, and their prey so that Africa's biggest cat can increase in numbers. To achieve this, the most common strategy is to invest in the protection of existing lion populations. However, in some cases, it makes sense to invest in the reintroduction of lions to sites where they had previously disappeared.
Reintroductions are costly and can be socially and politically controversial if not handled correctly. Before considering a reintroduction, it is critical to ensure that the release site is suitable, that the factors that caused lions to disappear have been addressed, and that the lions that will be reintroduced are sourced from suitable stock.
To help guide reintroductions, Dr. Peter Lindsey, Director of the LRF, collaborated with a number of authors such as Matt Becker from the Zambia Carnivore Programme and Laura Bertola to produce two papers—one on genetic guidelines for reintroductions and one on guidelines for evaluating the conservation value of a proposed reintroduction to identify whether it makes sense at a given site. It is hoped that these papers will help guide managers and make lion reintroductions more effective.