Tucson, AZ – Today, SCI Foundation unites with the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) and Mississippi State University (MSU) to complete the most scientifically robust lion population survey in the history of lion science.
The project will initiate its research in Serengeti National Park due to its large lion population and accessibility. Lions in the Serengeti have been heavily studied over time, and this knowledge will be used to measure the success of the new survey methods.
“This is an incredible achievement for the Foundation and we are eager to begin working,” SCI Foundation President, Joseph Hosmer said. “This research intends to identify the most accurate and cost-effective method available to estimate lion abundance and distribution, and if successful, will provide a model research design to all lion range states.”
MSU’s Professor of Wildlife Ecology, Dr. Jerry Belant, developed the experimental design based in part on methods he has applied to North American carnivores.
“‘I am thrilled to lead an international research project with such important conservation value,” Belant said. “This research provides an opportunity to dramatically improve the accuracy and precision of lion population estimates.”
Belant intends to use this framework to estimate lion abundance over large areas. It could then be used by governments to improve lion conservation and management across Africa.
SCI Foundation, TAWIRI, and MSU will begin field research in August, 2015.