Effect of a Temporary Hunting Ban on the Demography of African Lions (Panthera Leo) Using a Protected Area
KeywordsAnnual apparent survival
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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EmbargoRelease after 19-Dec-2018
AbstractLarge carnivores are in decline throughout their range primarily due to anthropogenic influences. This is a concern because these species have high social, economic and ecological value. African lion (Panthera leo) populations are in decline in most parts of the continent and this has been attributed largely to habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, wire snare poaching, black market trafficking in lion parts, retaliatory killings, and poorly regulated trophy hunting. In order to implement effective lion conservation actions, the effect of each factor on lion demography or population dynamics must be well understood. In the past, most studies have used indirect methods to quantify the effects of hunting on lion demography. The temporary ban on lion hunting in Zambia allowed me to study directly how removing a key source of mortality, for males in particular, changed the demography. Using data collected from 2008-2015, I studied how the lion population in and around South Luangwa National Park, Zambia responded to a 3-year moratorium on lion trophy hunting implemented in 2013. For the duration of the study ban, I monitored 386 known individuals in 19 prides and 15 male coalitions. Reproductive activity as represented by cub production appeared to improve after the hunting ban and the number of individually identifiable lions in the study area steadily increased from 88 in 2008 to 197 in 2015. Using a Cormack-Jolly-Seber model, I found that apparent annual survival increased in the absence of hunting for all adult male age classes. The temporary ban on hunting was lifted in 2016 and I recommend that quotas remain conservative in order to allow more time for the population to recover, particularly in the adult male age classes. Better monitoring protocols should also be implemented to promote compliance with hunting regulations.
Degree ProgramGraduate College