Lions were last seen in the protected area was in 2004, which is why this new sighting is so encouraging.
Big cats around the planet have seen their ranges reduced by up to 90% over the past century, but they are resilient animals and given a chance they can bounce back from the brink of extinction.
Last month it was reported that six tigers, including a mother with two cubs, had been spotted on camera traps in a Thai wildlife sanctuary where this is the first time in three decades that there has been an increase in the number of Indochinese tigers.
Now comes news that a female lion has been spotted on a remote camera at the Sena Oura National Park in Chad for the first time in nearly two decades in an area where the iconic predators were previously believed to have been driven extinct.
Lions were last seen in the protected area was in 2004, which is why this new sighting is so encouraging, and it is likely that the female spotted on camera isn’t the only lion there.
“The region saw a period of ruthless, organized poaching more than a decade ago, but has since benefitted from a very strong commitment to conservation by the governments of both Cameroon and Chad,” the Wildlife Conservation Society said.
“Adjacent Bouba N’djida National Park in Cameroon supports lions which are now increasing and appear to be recolonizing parts of their former range including Sena Oura,” the WCS explained, adding that its conservationists are helping local park guards by conducting “on-the-ground wildlife surveys including by camera trapping.”
Although lions have fared better than some other big cats such as tigers in recent decades, they, too, have seen drastic reductions in their populations. Their numbers have declined by two-thirds over the past three decades in Africa with some of their populations now facing extinction.
“[L]ion populations in West and Central Africa are particularly small and fragmented,” the conservationist group notes. “Regionally, they are considered Critically Endangered. West and Central African lions are genetically distinct from the more robust East and Southern African populations, and their recovery is especially valuable.”