|Threat in Niassa Reserve||Ranking||Comments|
|Inadvertent snaring and poisoning||High||Snares set for meat and problem animals|
|Targeted snaring for skin trade||Medium||Mainly for leopard, some lion|
|Human –Conflict / Retaliatory killing||Medium||Loss of life, injury and stock losses for people and erosion of confidence in conservation|
|Sport hunting of underage lion and leopards||Medium||The majority of leopards taken as trophies are younger than 4 years|
|Disease – rabies and canine distemper||Medium||Potential threat due to 200-300 domestic dogs in NNR|
|Sport hunting of underage lions||Low||Potential threat if SRN Lion regulations – Points System not upheld|
|Road causalities||Low||Particularly African wild dog|
|Traditional medicine||Low||All species, trade in lion bones needs to be monitored|
The African lion, a charismatic icon, is in serious trouble. Historically lions inhabited Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia. They occupied all types of habitat except very dry deserts and very wet forests. Today, lions have lost almost 80% of their original territory. There are now fewer than 40,000 lions left in the world, with as few as 450-1,300 lions in West Africa, and only 550-1,500 in Central Africa. Many populations are declining or have disappeared altogether. Leopards are also increasingly threatened. Until 2008, the leopard was classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in the category of "Least Concern" due to their wide geographic range. In 2008 this was changed to “Near Threatened” as they have lost 36% of their historical range, and are highly sought after for their skins and as sport hunting trophies. African wild dogs are endangered across their range as well, with fewer than 8,000 left. Niassa Reserve supports more than 350 adult wild dogs across more than 39 packs.
Large carnivores are among the most difficult species to conserve because they can be a danger to people and livestock. Locally derived grass roots solutions are essential to successful cohabitation. Habitat loss associated with human population growth, reduced prey, retaliatory killing, snaring, poisoning, sport hunting, and disease all threaten the survival of African lions. In Niassa Reserve, large carnivores are not secure.
Snaring is our biggest challenge: lions, leopards, and wild dogs are