“Lost Lions” Found in Northwest Ethiopia Raise Hopes That Big Cats Survive in Sudan

Camera trap photo of lion in northwest Ethiopia courtesy of Born Free USA.

Lions are living in a remote national park in Ethiopia, Born Free USA and Born Free Foundation said in a statement today.

The confirmation was made by an expedition into the Alatash National Park in northwest Ethiopia, on the Ethiopia-Sudan border. Supported by the Washington, D.C.-based charity, the expedition in November last year was led by Hans Bauer, a lion conservationist working for Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU).

Bauer and his team found original and undisputable evidence of lions in the region, successfully obtaining camera trap images of lions and identifying lion tracks, Born Free said in its statement. The team also concluded that lions were likely to exist in the larger, adjacent Dinder National Park across the border in Sudan.

“Alatash is a huge region that very few people have visited,” the statement said. “Though lions are thought to have been present there for centuries, and locals knew of their existence in the area, the international community was unaware. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) only considered Alatash a ‘possible range’ for the species.”

Camera trap photo of lion in northwest Ethiopia courtesy of Born Free USA.

WildCRU’s Bauer, the expedition leader, said: Lions are definitely present in Alatash National Park and in Dinder National Park. Lion presence in Alatash has not previously been confirmed in meetings at the national or international level.

“Considering the relative ease with which lion signs were observed, it is likely that they are resident throughout Alatash and Dinder. Due to limited surface water, prey densities are low and lion densities are likely to be low. We may conservatively assume a density in the range of one to two lions per 100 km2. On a total surface area of about 10,000 km2, this would mean a population of 100-200 lions for the entire —> Read More