Fauna & Flora International: A lion & painted dog conservation update

Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation works to support a variety of organisations in conserving and protecting the populations of endangered animals.

Our ongoing support with Fauna & Flora International at the Chuilexi Conservancy in Mozambique focuses on protecting populations of lion and wild dogs across the reserve.

2017 saw significant growth in the Chuilexi Conservancy scout force, which now stands at 59 men. This is the result of the development of an 8-man Rapid Reaction Team (RRT) and a 4-man Canine Unit Team. The Rapid Reaction Team – based at the Miuro headquarters – is used for rapid deployment when following up on intelligence and poaching incidents, particularly involving elephant and lion. Meanwhile, the Canine Unit Team focuses on law enforcement operations. Following the training of two Belgian Malinois dogs (pictured) and their handlers at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, June 2017 saw them safely located at the Chuilexi Conservancy with further training ongoing.

Elsewhere, there has been no illegal activity in Chuilexi Conservancy related to, or illegal mortality of lion during 2017. Representing fantastic news, lion are now being heard frequently from the Miuro headquarters, suggesting the population and pride structures are realigning following the spate of lion poisoning over the past 2 to 3 years. The Chuilexi Conservancy’s anti-poaching efforts have been instrumental in enabling this positive outcome.

Additionally, Chuilexi’s community programme has continued to develop. There is now a suite of activities from mitigation of human-wildlife conflict, to micro-credit schemes for local women, to a new flying doctor’s initiative, which have helped to support the surrounding community. Most significantly, there has been substantial development with the Lion Scholars Bursary Scheme, part of the Chuilexi bursary programme. Initiated at the beginning of 2017, with the enrolment of 6 children, the scheme has grown to include a further 12 students. The scheme is in partnership with Mariri Investimentos, a neighbouring concession (L5S), which has reported a success in linking educational benefits to the reduction in lion poaching. The collaboration is also assisting with broader messaging on lions, their conservation, value and threats.

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