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A workshop by 15 Eastern and Southern African lion range states in 2006 on the conservation of the African lion came up with the following recommendations; The need for African lion range States to follow up the workshops by developing and implementing national lion management plans; The need for a Pan African Conservation strategy to form the basis of a region wide collaboration in the conservation of the lion and which would also form the basis for the management of other wildlife species on regional scale. This Plan was developed in the spirit of these recommendations. The Plan recognises that lions are increasingly threatened, with much of its previous ranges now lost. Additionally, lions present a major threat to both domestic livestock and humans. The most important need for the Plan comes from the fact that at present, lion population in Zimbabwe is presently speculated to be around a quarter of what it was 50 years ago. Information on population status, current distribution and trends (as opposed to range) still remains lacking for most major wildlife areas although there are estimates of numbers for some areas. The vision of the Plan is enable lions to be conserved and managed sustainably for their aesthetic, cultural and ecological values, and the socio-economic development of Zimbabwe. The goal is to secure and where possible, restore as many viable lion populations as possible in Zimbabwe whilst mitigating their negative impacts and enhancing their value for the benefit of people through sustainable use. The targets include; to ensure the persistence of key lion populations and other important populations including those of doubtful viability; to reduce human and livestock loss; to optimize wildlife conservation-related net benefits to local communities. The Plan identifies the following issues relating to lion conservation in the country, including; management and research issue- the key issues here being the need to develop and decide upon standardized lion census methods for application, the need to initiate standardized surveys in areas within Zimbabwe where the status of lion is unknown, improved understanding of the ecology and biology of the lion, including its habitat and prey. These may be changing under human influences, or in the longer term, as a result of climate change, changes in lion population trends and range as a result of habitat change, hunting, and increased informal killing to protect livestock and people, among others; capacity needs- reflect the adequacy of human, financial and material resources; mitigation- lions kill livestock and humans and vengeful killings are a major reason for the decline in their population, this aims to eliminate human-lion related conflicts; socio-economic issues; communication and information dissemination; framework for captive breeding; trade and regulation; and regional collaboration. The Plan proposes the following as immediate actions to be taken; Appoint a Lion Coordinator for PWMA, to be followed up by the establishment of A Lion Conservation & Management Co-ordinating Committee; Establish baseline data as soon as possible and build databases; to ensure specific outputs include- 1. Management: Develop Lion Captive Breeding Policy. 2. Research: Constitute the Carnivore Research Group. 3. Mitigation: Review and undertake needs assessment for PAC Units. 4. Socio-economic: Pursue CAMPFIRE fiscal devolution aggressively. 5. Apply regulations as required, e.g. mandatory trophy measurements. 6. Disseminate and publicise the development and implementation of this Strategy. 7. Inform regional partners, i.e. range states. zim203
Conservation Strategy and Action Plan for the Lion (Panthera Leo) in Zimbabwe
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