Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Living With Lions: How Livestock Owners Manage

Date:
October 25, 2007
Source:
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Summary:
A research team have found that people living closer to the Waza National Park enjoy better access to pastures and water points, but bear the heaviest losses when it comes to lion predation. Although loss of human life is rarely reported, lion predation can cost the herders close to $1000 US per family each year.

Lion fitted with a collar wit a GPS transmitter.
Credit: Leiden University

There are many historical stories of shepherds and travellers encountering lions, for example the Old Testament contains dozens of tales about attacks on flocks and people by these fierce predators. Lions have now disappeared from most of their former range, but for livestock owners around the Waza National Park, Cameroon, living with lions is a daily reality.

Although loss of human life is rarely reported, lion predation can cost the herders close to $1000 US per family each year. Scientists from the Resource Ecology Group, Wageningen University and the Institute of Environmental Sciences, Leiden University, investigated the factors that contributed to these losses and why pastoralists continued to graze their herds close to the lion's hunting grounds, which has recently been published in the African Journal of Ecology.

The team found that people living closer to the Waza National Park enjoy better access to pastures and water points, but bear the heaviest losses. These herdsmen said that the benefits of improved grazing and water outweigh the cost of lion kills.

Further from the park, depredation decreases, but during the wet season, when water is abundant and lush vegetation offers hiding places, lions wander off and take livestock at larger distances.

The research also showed that having cattle increases the risk of losing goats or sheep to lions, probably because sheep and goats graze with the cows further away from the villages and in larger numbers, which makes it easier for lions to approach livestock unnoticed. Herdsmen even claimed that lions follow nomadic herds during the wet season far outside the park, and during this period these lions also raid sedentary livestock of villages they pass.

Surprisingly, herdsmen who try to chase the lions away when attacked reported larger losses, probably because the confusion created scatters the herds, and lions benefit from this.

One day around noon, while interviewing some villagers, two researchers were called by some excited herdsmen, who reported an attack by lions. The group headed to the scene just outside of the village, only about a kilometre from where the interview was taking place, and found three dead sheep and a calf, with clear bite marks in their necks. One of the herdsmen explained:

"We tried to chase away the lions, but they weren't impressed and only moved a bit further away from us, where they grabbed another sheep. That's how they do it, they just kill. They've taken one sheep with them, but the calf and the other three sheep were killed for nothing. We can't eat the meat, as Muslim traditions require animals to be killed by a Muslim."

The research team recommended that herding methods could be changed in order to decrease the livestock losses, such as by having protective thorn enclosures, called bomas, or more herdsmen, as dogs for guarding livestock are not a suitable alternative in this Islamic part of Cameroon.

Lion predation is a common phenomenon in the area, and people have accommodated these violent encounters in their day-to-day life, and apparently make a trade-off between the extra benefits of living closer to the national park, and the increased risk of losing animals to lions.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. "Living With Lions: How Livestock Owners Manage." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071024112138.htm>.
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. (2007, October 25). Living With Lions: How Livestock Owners Manage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071024112138.htm
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. "Living With Lions: How Livestock Owners Manage." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071024112138.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins