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Ethiopia’s rare mountain lions


A German conservation group is compensating local farmers in Ethiopia’s Kafa region,whose lifestock is often seized by rare mountain lions. In return, the farmers are helping protect the big cats.

Project goal: documenting and protecting the lions of Kafa (among the very few African lions not living in a savannah region), preserving the rich biodiversity of the Kafa Biosphere Reserve and ensuring balanced wildlife numbers
Duration: 2009 to 2014 under the NABU Cloud Forest Protection project, since 2013 – Nabu lion protection program
Implementation: in a pilot project, local farmers are compensated for their livestock seized by the lions. They inform NABU about lion sightings and their behaviour patterns
Size: Kafa Biosphere Reserve (780 square kilometers)
Funding: around 3.2 million Euros from the International Climate Initiative’s (IKI) forest protection program
Key species: African lion (Panthera leo)

The Kafa Biosphere Reserve in Ethiopia is known for its wild coffee, hippos and crowned eagle. But lions? Scientists were taken by surprise when a rare female mountain lion was sighted there two years ago. Now, a few of the beasts, including some from the former zoo and presidential palace in Addis Ababa, seem to be at home in Kafa’s mountain cloud forests. But, local farmers aren’t so happy with the big cats increasingly attacking their livestock during the dry season. German conservation group NABU is helping to compensate farmers and banking on their traditional reverence for lions to help protect the big beasts.

A film by Kilian Schütze

Posted by: Kumilachew Gebremeskel Ambo

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