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African Lion


The roar of a male lion can be heard five miles away, and their mane is not only for demonstration, but protection in fights with other males and sometimes hyenas. Although males are called King of the Beasts, in a lion pride it is the females doing the hunting for the entire group.

<African Lion>


Lioness & Cubs

The Lion’s Pride

<African Lion>

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Tools for Monitoring Carnivores


Threatened Carnivores

Carnivores across Africa are increasingly in danger of extinction. Some of Africa’s most iconic species, including lions, leopards and wild dogs are declining across their range. Lions, once found throughout Africa, are now present in only 20% of their historic range. Similarly, the African wild dog population has declined from over 500,000 at the beginning of the 20th century, to only 5,000 individuals today.

There are several reasons for the decline in African carnivore populations. Wild dogs were actively persecuted throughout much of the last 100 years, with wildlife managers and farmers often shooting them on sight. Overhunting of prey species by humans also causes problems for carnivores. When their natural prey becomes hard to find many will begin hunting livestock like cows and goats. This brings them into conflict with cattle herders who will shoot the carnivores and poison carcasses to kill predators. Loss of habitat is also a serious issue, as savannas and woodlands are gradually taken over by people for agriculture and grazing land.

Partnerships for Predators

In order to help address some of the threats, the North Carolina Zoo has entered into a number of partnerships with organizations focused on carnivore conservation. These partnerships use technology the zoo originally developed for monitoring gorillas to allow our partners to more precisely record important data about lions, wild dogs, and other species. In West Africa, we are working with Panthera to conduct carnivore surveys to document the distribution of carnivores where they are most in danger of extinction. By carefully documenting carnivore sightings, tracks and dung, Panthera scientists will be able to better plan future conservation efforts. In East Africa we have partnered with the Ruaha Carnivore Project to help them gather data from the many tourist guides active in Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park. By giving data collection tablet computers to these guides the project can drastically increase the amount of information gathered on where lions and other carnivores are active. Most recently we provided Dr. Greg Rasmussen of the Painted Dog Research Trust with a mobile computer-based system for recording the collection of wild dog DNA samples. Dr. Rasmussen uses these samples to understand the population genetics of wild dogs in Zimbabwe and assess their health.

<African Lion>


African Lion

Lioness & Cubs

The Lion’s Pride

Tools for Monitoring Carnivores