Assessing the Conservation Status of African lions, leopards and hyenas in Uganda
About This Project
We are working with the Ugandan Wildlife Authority and Wildlife Conservation Society to develop the most recent estimates of population density for African lions, leopards and spotted hyena in the Queen Elizabeth National Park (1978 km2), southwestern Uganda. We will also assess the conflict of these species with livestock farmers in strategic locations on the park’s edge and in villages located within the park.
What is the context of this research?
Africa’s large carnivores are in decline across much of the continent.
The Queen Elizabeth National Park in southwestern Uganda is an important refuge for African lions, leopards and spotted hyena (Omoya et al. 2014; Treves et al. 2009). Acoustic call up surveys implemented in 2008 estimated 140 African lions and 211 spotted hyena in the park (Omoya et al. 2014) and there are no estimates available for African leopards.
Our team will update information on the population density of African lions, leopards and spotted hyenas and examine key locations of human-carnivore conflict in and on the borders of the park. We will train two Ugandan university students and run two workshops for the Ugandan Wildlife Authority and WCS on counting large carnivores for surveys in 2019 onwards.
What is the significance of this project?
There is a general lack of data on the population status of African lions across the continent and the confidence (precision) of current estimates across the majority of locations in Africa are very wide. We will trial a new spatial method to better estimate lion numbers using whisker spots and capture recapture models.
Our team will also perform the first population estimates of African leopards in Uganda.
This information along with examining critical hotspots of human-carnivore conflict (mainly with livestock farmers) will feed into management plans developed by the Ugandan Wildlife Authority, Wildlife Conservation Society and numerous specialist groups including CITES, IUCN Red List, African Lion Working Group and the IUCN Cat Specialist Group.
What are the goals of the project?
Our project has five overarching goals:
1) Update African lion numbers in Queen Elizabeth National Park using the latest spatial capture recapture statistics and whisker spots of lions
2) Provide the first estimates of African leopard density in QENP and update hyena numbers using spatial capture recapture and flank identification
4) Develop a spatially explicit human-carnivore conflict risk map using occupancy modelling in QENP
3) Provide 100 camera traps to WCS and UWA staff for future population surveys
4) Train at least two students from Makerere and Ndejje Universities in Uganda in density estimation of large carnivores and run at least two workshops with UWA and WCS field staff in density estimation techniques for large carnivores