The Matusadona Lion Project

In 2014 the Matusadona Lion Project (MLP) was implemented in Matusadona NP, Zimbabwe, as a lion population ecology study. The park once held Africa’s second highest density of lions in the 1990s, c. 100 within the 400km2 valley floor area, but studies in 2004 highlighted a dramatic decline to a mere 28 animals.

The area was deemed a ‘viable’ Lion Conservation Unit by the IUCN; an area of known or possible lion range, and considered an ecological unit of importance to the species. However, there has been a distinct lack of research to ascertain a current conservation status for the population and what precisely is limiting this important population.

Matusadona forms the heart of the larger Sebungwe region – the eastern most part of the Kavango-Zambezi Trans-Frontier Conservation Area. Over the last 2 decades, the Sebungwe has suffered extensive habitat loss and wildlife numbers have dwindled due to human activities. Such losses have left protected areas like Matusadona NP isolated from one another hindering those species dependent on large home ranges and migration, placing them at risk of local extinction.

Changa Matusadona Male Lion

The Matusadona Lion Project is working in collaboration with ZPWMA to preserve the lion population of Matusadona, and other large carnivores, and to promote its long-term viability within a meta-population scale by improving the connectivity with other wildlife areas of Sebungwe.

The Matusadona Lion Project is led by Principal Researcher Rae Kokeš, supported by assistant researchers PWMA Ecologist, Ashley Mudungwe, and Kristoffer Everatt.

The Matusadona Lion Project has been provided with a based and logistical support at Changa Safari Camp since its onset. Changa are proud to support this conservation initiative and encourage participation with its guests to learn first hand from the Matusadona Lion Project team about conservation in Zimbabwe.

The Matusadona Lion Project is seeking support for equipment and logistical costs. For more information please contact the project on matusadonalions@gmail.com or click the button below to make a donation toward the project.

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