Lions in Uganda Parks – Uganda Safari Destination
Lions in Uganda Parks : Lions –African lions are carnivorous animals and largest species in Africa. they are the pride of the jungle ‘’true social cats that have special cultural significance in most countries on the continent. In Uganda, lions are named as king of the beasts or jungle’’ and are popular symbols of royalty, bravery and strength. The species of lions live in a fission-fusion’ society which is very rare with social system similar to Chimpanzees. Of which individuals have different home ranges that overlap to meet and come together while on Uganda Safaris tours.
Facts about African Lions – Murchison Falls, Kidepo & Queen Elizabeth
Males are thrown out of the group at the age of 3 to 4 years by dominant male and they tend to take over a pride when they turn 7 to 10 years old.
Males usually hole a pride for 2 to 3 years only before being ousted by another male.
Female generally stay in the same area as their mothers and occasionally move to an adjacent pride when sub adult and rear a litter of cubs every after two years.
The lions have the highest mortality in the cubs which is often whole litters being killed by other predators or buffaloes.
Lions in Uganda can only be adventured in the three largest savannah parks that are; Murchison Falls National Park in the Northwest region of Uganda, Kidepo Valley National Park in the Northeast and Queen Elizabeth National Park in Southwestern. Queen’s lions are spotted in Ishasha a famous area to adventure the unique behavior of climbing trees and have been branded the ‘’Ishasha tree-climbing lions’’ by tourists.
Despite the fact that, lions are the second sought species after the great mountain gorillas by visitors visiting Uganda.
However, the ‘’WCS’’ World Conservation Society assessment in 2006 proved that each individual lion in Queen Elizabeth National Park generated about large amount of money per year for the national economy in terms of the revenue it brought into the country. The factor was that tourists are willing to stay longer just to see lions.
Ecologically, lions play a great role in maintaining ecosystem health and balance by predating on herbivores which is often targeting sick individuals, thereby disposing of carcasses. All this make useful importance to Uganda’s economy and ecology.
Lions in Murchison Falls National Park /Threats
Lion monitoring; There are population dynamics or threats to lions in Murchison Falls National Park till the start of the ‘’World Conservation Society lion monitoring project in 2009’’ and it was conducted by ‘’UWA’’ Uganda Wildlife Authority veterinary doctor Margaret Driciru in 2001. Currently, the World Conservation Society is monitoring the four lion prides on the northern back on Murchison Falls thus looking at ranging and foraging habits. All this data collection was done through using GPS –Global Positioning System and GSM –Global System for Mobile Communications that enabled collar since 2010.
Since 2010 more than 128 individuals have been identified on the northern side of the park to date. In 2013 they did a lion census and hyenas in the savannah of the southern bank, that previously revealed the possibility of the south harboring more lions and hyenas. Something that proved as an indication that the lion population has increased compared to that of 2009 census. In 2014 the World Conservation Society conduct another lion census.
Illegal traps of lions under preliminary results of the World Conservation Society lion study in Murchison Falls national park show that most mortality ‘’71%’’ in adult lions suffer a result of human related incidences mainly snares and many others. Just in two years, five lions were killed in illegal traps and six lions were seriously injured, something that required veterinary intervention and three lost their limbs.
The effort is ongoing to reduce illegal traps in the park while using ‘’UWA’’ Uganda Wildlife Authority ranger patrol data, snare-prone areas on the northern bank that have been identified according to the type of traps. All this was followed by a snare removal exercise in part of the 550square kilometers wire snare prone area. Over all 2,000 wire snares ,60 spears and 15 elephants’ traps have been collected and over 38 animals rescued from wire snares. All this has happened through working hand in hand with the Uganda Wildlife Authority community conservation department, World Conservation Society trains and enable ex-poachers to rescue wheel-traps at homes and in the park. They are also paid for the disposal of all wire snares held at Murchison Falls National park stores in case of any theft.
The snare remove exercise as to continue to more than 80% of the snare zone under survey. For this idea, World Conservation Society and Uganda Wildlife Authority requires more resources to pay for the basic supplies of the removal team in order to conduct frequent snare removal exercises of the entire wire snare zone. The continued monitoring of the lion population is vital to understand the threats of lions and the impact on the population.
Ranger training; Uganda Wildlife Authority ranger are being trained to assess the health and demographics of lions from their foot patrols. World Conservation Society shares the positions of the collared lions with Uganda World Authority to help them to respond faster to incidences of lions moving into community land. It has positively impacted the human lion conflict thus Lions in Uganda Parks.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Lion monitoring; In Queen Elizabeth national park World Conservation Society ‘’WCS’’ in 2005 launched a lion project in the Ishasha sector of Queen purposely to monitor lion population dynamics. All the information collected was to aid our conservation efforts and intended to monitor the small population of unique tree climbing lions found in this Ishasha sector. The population has been recorded varying between 20 – 35 individual only. For that matter ‘’WCS’’ World Conservation Society discovered that lions in the Ishasha sector move easily between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo when dispersing the males that come from Congo to Uganda to take over prides in Ishasha.
The research shows that lions migrate from the central sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park to Ishasha through the Maramangambo Forest. Note, if Uganda’s famous tree climbing lions are to survive we need to maintain this continuously.
How to reduce the illegal traps in Queen Elizabeth; We need to continue monitoring the lion population through helping to save the lions on many occasions. Uganda Wildlife Authority have to respond to news of lions’ movements towards local communities and have worked hard to move them back to the park before they are killed. In year 2013,’’WCS’’ World Conservation Society rescued three lions that had become entangled in wire snares that poachers set to trap other wildlife.
Due to eco-tourism, Uganda Wildlife Authority has developed lion experiential tourism as a mechanism to both increase revenues for ‘’UWA’’ Uganda Wildlife Authority while at the same time while using some of the revenue generated to reduce the conflicts between local people around and the parks.