The Greater Limpopo Lion Conservation Unit (GLLCU) is one of only ten remaining lion population strongholds in Africa. The 73,000km2 landscape is incredibly important for the global and regional viability of the species.
Over 1,600 lions can be found in the South African portion of this international landscape in Kruger NP, whilst a recovering population is increasing in Gonarezhou NP of Zimbabwe.
However, lions in the Mozambican portion of the GLLCU are rapidly declining with 50 - 68% population declines documented in the National Parks since 2011.
Lions are being limited by a number of threats from bush-meat poaching and habitat loss, retaliatory conflict killings and more recently, targeted lion poaching.
In response to this conservation crisis the GLCP has initiated the
Limpopo Lion Protection Unit
- a dedicated anti-poaching team working to secure known and potential lion range in Limpopo and Banhine NPs and contiguous wildlife corridor areas.
Using our extensive research findings and satellite GPS collars patrols are directed to poaching hotspots and core lion areas where snares and / or poisoning sites are destroyed. Our two teams are working collaboratively with the wildlife authority all year round from remote camps.
The GLCP is also collaborating with other stakeholders regionally and internationally to investigate the rise in targeted lion poaching which appears to have begun in the GLLCU. By improving our understanding of this illegal trade we are seeking to improve patrol tactics, prosecution rates, trade policies and more.
The successes of our conservation activities are monitored and measured by our scientifically robust research. Only through in situ research can we design and / or adapt our activities to address conservation needs directly and effectively.
Our research has been used to guide land use management and species conservation plans across the GLLCU.
Between 2014 - 2017 an average c. 4 lions were killed annually through targeted lion poaching. This illegal activity sees lions snared and / or poisoned and body parts harvested for a rising trade in teeth, claws and bones.