Panthera, the leading wild cat conservation organization, has launched a new initiative to protect lions in Kafue National Park (KNP) with support from PUMA, the renowned sports company, and premier African ecotourism operator, Wilderness Safaris.
PUMA has committed $360,000 through 2015 to Panthera's new anti-poaching initiative in Kafue National Park (KNP) – Zambia's largest protected area and one of the most important national parks in Africa. Panthera, together with PUMA and Wilderness Safaris, will work with the Zambia Wildlife Authority and a local NGO, Game Rangers International, to help support and expand law enforcement activities by local wildlife authorities in KNP. Outfitting and expanding anti-poaching units will be the priority, alongside improving law enforcement monitoring to allow tracking of illegal activities, evaluation of the success of enforcement efforts and optimal deployment of resources for conservation.
"PUMA is inspired by the agility and speed of all big cats," said Justin DeKoszmovszky, PUMA Global Sustainability Strategy Manager. "We are happy to support this new initiative by Panthera to help protect local biodiversity in Kafue National Park as part of our ongoing commitment to environmental protection."
Zambia is one of just nine countries in Africa home to more than 1,000 lions. However, research by Panthera Kaplan Graduate Awards Scholar and University of Cape Town PhD student, Neil Midlane, has confirmed that illegal bushmeat hunting is pervasive in Kafue. Widespread and indiscriminate snaring of lions and their prey has potentially devastating effects on the region's wildlife. Due to their extensive home ranges and habit of scavenging carcasses from snare lines, lions are extremely susceptible to bushmeat poaching. In the dry seasons of 2010-2012 alone, Midlane and his team observed at least 15 lions carrying snares. Fortunately, most of these were immobilized and successfully treated by the Zambia Wildlife Authority and local NGOs, although at least one lioness lost dependent cubs as a result of her injuries. More....