The Botswana Lion Corridor Project is an extension of the Hwange Lion Research project in which a long term database of all known individuals in the various concessions and protected areas is being developed. The research undertaken in Botswana focuses on lions that have crossed the international border between Zimbabwe and Botswana.
Lions are identified via their unique whisker spot patterns, ear markings and scars and each lion is given specific code in order to obtain information on pride composition and distribution and individual identities of animals – a task which is now ongoing in Botswana as well thanks to the Botswana Lion Corridor Project. Collaring takes place through free darting lions at calling stations or when lions are located during routine tracking. Each lion collared will be carefully monitored by the team in order to glean valuable information about whether there is a continuous lion population that connects cross-border areas, the identification of dispersal corridors of young males in the area, geographical links between different prides and familial relationships and home ranges within the prides is being gathered by the team.
Reducing Human Wildlife Conflict
Monitoring collared lions can provide valuable information to assist in reducing human-lion conflict in communities which border on lion habitats. Recently, the team assisted the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) with the monitoring of a problematic pride which included a collared individual in the Sankoyo area. The DWNP sent a problem animal control team to the village which was alerted to the pride’s movements through the collar data and they were able to repeatedly chase the lions away, eventually resulting in them moving out of the area. The team also provides education on how to improve cattle enclosures in these communities and make them predator-proof.
HOW YOU CAN HELP BY SUPPORTING SATIB CONSERVATION TRUST
The SATIB Conservation Trust supports the Botswana Lion Corridor Project through the sponsorship of GPS satellite collars. The project is in need of between 20 and 30 collars for 2015. Sponsorship of mobile bomas, which are enormously valuable in assisting with the reduction of human-wildlife conflict in rural communities, is also a priority as is the provision of vehicles. The Trust will also provide support for ongoing lion conservation work in Botswana.