Saturday, March 17, 2007

Survey of Zambian lions

ZAWA has contracted ICS (International Conservation Services) to give an overview of the status of lion countrywide, with particular reference to population distribution, hunting quotas and trophy quality. The findings are to serve as a basis for Zambia’s response at the next CITES meeting (Kenya has made a proposal to list lion under Appendix I). We have ridiculously little time in which to complete the study, and so must rely to an overwhelming extent on existing data as well as on interviews with PHs and safari operators.

Dr Attwell of ICS is currently in Zambia where he is interviewing stakeholders and reviewing reports. However, as time is limited (the report is due next month), it will be impossible to contact all those who may wish to contribute directly. This email serves as a questionnaire in an attempt to capture data and opinions from those who cannot be interviewed directly.

Please ignore this if you have already been interviewed personally unless you have additional material to submit.

It is not expected that all parts be completed - please respond to those sections related to your expertise or experience. Please feel free to submit any material not specifically addressed by the questions below.

Kindly forward this to anybody you feel may have some contribution to make.

If you wish to arrange a personal interview, please use the cell # at the end of the form.


(in responding to questions, please use italics or a different font)

Address (email)

In stated areas you are familiar with, how many lions do you estimate to be present?

Do you have any data on pride sizes and structure?

Have lion populations increased/decreased, and why?

Have you noticed any changes in pride composition (sex and age structure)?
If so, how do you account for this?

What are the principal prey species of lion in the areas with which you are familiar, and what is the status of those prey species? (over the last 10 years, have numbers increased, decreased, or remained stable?)

How many lions are killed each year in your region, and by what means?

What problems do you have with the present quota system for lion, and how should they be addressed? (e.g. how should hunting quotas be set?)

What % do you consider to be a sustainable offtake for a lion population?

What is an acceptable age to hunt male lion?

How do you determine the ages of male lions in the field?

How do you think age restrictions on hunting lion could be enforced?

Has trophy size (for a stated area) improved, declined or remained stable in recent years?

On what do you base the above trends?

If you think trophy monitoring could be improved, please state how:

Do operators comply with the law regarding lion hunting?

Were lion to be listed on Appendix I of CITES, how would that affect the wildlife industry in Zambia?

What is the contribution of safari hunting operations to conservation in GMAs?

Do you have any ideas on an overall management strategy for lion in Zambia?

What measures could be taken to minimize friction between photographic and hunting safaris?

Do you have data on poisoning of lion? Expand

Is the bushmeat trade impacting on prey populations to the extent that it is affecting the distribution of lion?

Are you aware of any reports on lion in Zambia that might be useful?



Please send emails to:


Zambian cell: 097200290

International Conservation Services (ICS)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Irish lion blarney...

Lion kings
Irish efforts to bring the 'King of the Jungle' back

By Jay Mwamba

Across Africa's vast savanna grasslands a dark cloud hangs over the "King of the Jungle." The continent's lion population -- once numbering 250,000 -- has fallen to an alarming 20,000, decimated by hunting, disease and human encroachment on their habitat.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists lions a "vulnerable" species.
"Unless something is done real soon it is very possible that the species will become extinct within 20 years or less," Cork native Roy Penney warned from the Zambian capital, Lusaka.

Penney, a long-time Zambian resident; his fellow Cork exile in Zimbabwe, Steve McCormick and Andrew Conolly, an Irish-Zimbabwean who calls Bandon his ancestral home, may just be the last best hope for the fearsome beasts.
The three Corkmen, along with Conolly's wife Wendy, are working in the African bush to save the lion through a program developed by African Encounter, a safari company founded by the Conollys. The Conollys have been breeding and rehabilitating lions in Zimbabwe, south of Zambia, since 1982 with remarkable devotion considering that Andrew lost his left arm to a lion. Operating out of Gweru and Victoria Falls town, the "African Encounter Lion Rehabilitation/Reintroduction Program" comprises three stages.

Over the three stages, volunteers, guides and handlers walk cubs into game areas to allow them to develop hunting skills; then the young lions are placed in prides and closely monitored in huge game-stocked 500 acre enclosures before they are trans-located, in select breeding groups, to fenced 25,000 acre mini-ecosystems devoid of other lions and humans. "Up to 100 lions have been coming out of (this) program every year," said Penney.

The plan is to reintroduce the big cats in game reserves, conservancies and national parks across the continent. Outside India's Sasan-Gir National Park, where the World Wildlife Fund estimates 300 lions live, Africa is the last free-range habitat for a species that once roamed throughout Asia and Europe. Across the raging Zambezi River, Penney oversaw the expansion of the program to Zambia last year, a country slightly larger than Texas, with 20 cubs from the Conollys.

McCormick, a tourism entrepreneur, will run the venture in Livingstone, Zambia's tourist capital and the site of the Victoria Falls -- one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Penney and Xen Vlahakis, a former top Ministry of Tourism official, will serve as its Zambian directors while Englishman David Youldon, executive director of African Lion & Environmental Research Trust (ALERT), will manage the lions and lead the walks.
"I was approached by Steve (McCormick) to set up this company. I went to Gweru and was taken in by it," said Penney. "If we don't make a stand now with 1,000 lions left in Zambia, it will be a tragedy."

The real tragedy, though, may be why lions are in such peril. According to Penney, hunting, both legal and by poachers, has taken a heavy toll. "In Zambia you can shoot lions for $80,000," he noted soberly. "So what are we going to tell our children and grandchildren? That we shot all of the lion population but got paid between $80,000 and $120,000 for each one?"

Yet even as efforts are being made to curtail hunting by big game hunters -- Americans among them -- other threats exist. "Lions are also dying of inbreeding and disease," added Penney, while in other parts of Africa, the human encroachment on wildlife habitat has had dire consequences. Still, he's upbeat over African Encounter's mission.

It has piqued the interest of a couple of Wild Geese Society members in Zambia, both conservationists, and has the backing of the government. "This project is making a huge (effort) to save lions," said Penney. "There's a lot of support."

Funding for the project will mainly come from private sources, although Penney expects the walking program to generate some revenue, too. For $50, tourists and other individuals will be able to join Youldon and the cubs on walks.

A successful accountant, philanthropist and Irish trade consultant who apart from brief spells in the UK and the U.S. has spent the last 39 years in Zambia, Penney is no stranger to good causes in his adopted home. He is the founder and trustee of the Kenneth Kaunda Children of Africa Foundation -- set up by him and Kaunda, Zambia's first president, to care for AIDS orphans. Former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds is a board member. As Wild Geese Society chairman in the 1980s, and later captain of the Lusaka Golf Club, Penney spearheaded fundraisers for different charities, rural projects and mission hospitals. The Cork City product has over the years been involved in business ventures with Irish companies, mainly through the Irish Enterprise Board (formally CTT), including Irish Cement, Bord Bainne, Clonmel Chemicals and Masstock International.

Penney works with the accountancy firm of Moores Rowland International and manages its consulting company.

For more information, contact Penney at or, or visit African Encounter at:

This story appeared in the issue of March 14-20, 2007

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Lion status assessment begins...

Dr Basher Attwell - son of a former senior member of the Game Department, Rolf Attwell, has begun work on a lion status survey of Zambia, the tender having been won by International Conservations Services cc

This work is of paramount importance to the safari industry and to ZAWA and the rural communities which it partially supports. Basher would like to interview all those who work in the field, particularly professional hunters. He may be contacted on, and will shortly provide a cell phone number.

ZAWA Consultancy ToR On The Status of Lion in Zambia

ZAMBIA WILDLIFE AUTHORITY Terms of Reference for Consultancy to Review and Provide an Update on the Status of the African Lion in Zambia

Directorate of Research, Planning and Information
July 2006


At the 13th Meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP), the government of the republic of Kenya withdrew her proposal to transfer the African Lion to Appendix I of CITES following the concerns raised by SADC countries and the subsequent proposal to hold consultative workshops. The workshops would examine the status of the African lion in different regions and countries.

1.1 Uplifting of lion to Appendix I of CITES as proposed by Kenya would subject the species to the stringent provisions of Article III of the Convention text of CITES, which delimits commercial exploitation of the species. Despite the inadequate information regarding the lion population estimates in the country, Zambia feels that the species does not qualify for an instantaneous uplifting to Appendix I. Unjustified uplifting of lion to Appendix I would have serious ramifications on the Safari Hunting industry in Zambia. This is because, lion is an important component in the classical Safari and its removal would distort the classical package/bag. This would present serious challenges and present areas of potential litigation by Safari companies with valid Concession Agreements and would eventually lead to loss of revenue to ZAWA and the local communities which would also work against Government’s policy of reducing poverty in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).


In view of the foregoing, Zambia as a range state is required to collect reliable and systematic data on the status of lion in the country. This data would be used in the implementation of an effective and efficient conservation of species countrywide and to justify the lion’s retention in Appendix II at COP 14 or other subsequent Cops.

Following the above, ZAWA needs to update information on the status of African Lion across its entire range in the country.


The objective of the assignment is to review and provide an update on the status of the African Lion in the country.


The consultant will undertake, among others to do the following in order to carry out this task: -

4.1 Review literature on African lion population and distribution in Zambia.
4.2 Conduct interviews with stakeholders (Professional hunters, Safari Operators, Community Resource Board Members, NGOs, ZAWA staff and others with information on lion).
4.3 Review records on lion trophy size measurements from all Safari hunting Companies and Hunting Blocks, and ZAWA licensing for more than five (5) years of hunting activities.
4.4 Review lion quotas for more than five (5) years.
4.5 Review records on human-lion conflicts for more than five (5) years.
4.6 Collect and review ZAWA lion data forms, which have been distributed to all Protected Areas with Lion.
4.7 Prepare comprehensive and consolidated report on the status of the African Lion in Zambia.
4.8 Prepare operational arrangements for implementation in National Parks, Game Management Areas and Open Areas where human-lion conflicts occur.
4.9 Recommend short, medium and long-term monitoring strategies.


5.1 The consultant shall produce a comprehensive and consolidated report with distribution maps, numbers and trophy measurements to show trends for a period exceeding five (5) years.
5.2 Produce and make available ten (10) hard copies and five (5) electronic copies on CD.


6.1 Field visits to lion range areas, to obtain on the ground information.
6.2 Field consultations with members of the local community in areas with documented human-lion conflicts.
6.3 Collaborate with other lion researchers in Zambia and the Sub Region currently involved in lion research.
6.4 Review CITES Annual reports and licensing records at ZAWA, and lion trophy measurements with Safari Operators.


7.1 The expected duration of the assignment is two professional months.
7.2 The first draft report should be ready by mid of the second month.
7.3 The final report should be submitted to the office of the Director General
by he last day of the second month or earlier.


8.1 The study will be entrusted to a principal consultant who shall be a holder of a Postgraduate degree in Zoology, Wildlife Management/Ecology, Conservation Biology or closely related field and must have not less than five (5) years experience and must demonstrate familiarity of the consultancy by way of having successfully worked on similar assignments in the recent past.
8.2 The Principal Consultant shall be assisted by one or two assistants who should be holders of a Graduate degree or three years diploma from a recognized University or College in the field similar to the Principal Consultant.


9.1 To ensure that the Consultancy proceeds in accordance with the Terms of Reference herein specified.
9.2 Responsible for quality control so as to ensure that the final report is of the best quality possible and acceptable to the client