Our new study in the Journal of Applied Ecology, conducted together with The University Of Glasgow, found that the community conservancies of the Mara ecosystem play a vital role in the survival of lions. This is great news for lion conservation - with widespread declines outside of small, fenced areas, we have shown that free-ranging lions have a future without fences.
Conservancy membership provides households with financial benefits from wildlife tourism and engenders an attitude of coexistence with wildlife. The net effect is that people become more tolerant of lions because they attract tourists and bring an alternative source of income to landowners.
Sara Blackburn, lead author on the paper said: “The most important finding in this study is that community conservancies are a viable way to protect wildlife and pose an alternative solution to building fences. If we are concerned about the population of lions, we need to let the people who actually live with the lions benefit from their existence.”
The study illustrates that community conservancies are a good strategy for the future protection of lion populations and provides a practical solution to the problem, especially in areas where the expense of fencing is not a realistic option.
Our research is hitting the news and a comprehensive summary can be found here.
An online version of the paper can be accessed here.