DALLAS – DSC is a financial supporter of lion conservation efforts by Oxford University, the prestigious institution responsible for collaring and studying the lion infamously poached near Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.
In 2013-14, DSC awarded $20,000 in grants to Oxford for lion initiatives in and around Ruaha National Park in Tanzania.
In a grant request to DSC, Oxford researchers said the Ruaha area supports over 10 percent of the world’s remaining lions. However, populations are threatened by intensifying conflicts with livestock owners. Local hostility toward lions and other large carnivores results in the highest depredation mortality rates in East Africa, usually via spears or poisons. Over 30 lions were killed near one village in 2011 – truly a major conservation issue.
Researchers from Oxford launched the Ruaha Carnivore Project.
Granted funds from DSC were used to build predator proof enclosures for holding livestock overnight, provide veterinary medicines to reduce additional livestock losses from diseases, and educate communities about the value of lions.
Joining DSC in support for this effort were British Airways, National Geographic and several zoos and foundations.
Since launching in 2009, the Ruaha Carnivore Project has used these and other strategies to help reduce indiscriminate lion killing by 75 percent in the core study area. Researchers say over 70 percent of villagers now see benefit from the project’s activities.
Over the past five years, DSC has granted more than $5 million for various conservation, education and hunter advocacy efforts worldwide. Many of these grants were awarded for lion research and conservation initiatives.