Lions have now disappeared from most of their former range, but for livestock owners around the Waza National Park, Cameroon, living with lions is a daily reality. Although loss of human life is rarely reported, lion predation can cost the herders close to 1000 US$ per family each year. Scientists from the Resource Ecology Group, Wageningen University and the Institute of Environmental Sciences, Leiden University, investigated the factors that contributed to these losses and why pastoralists continued to graze their herds close to the lion’s hunting grounds.
The team found that people living closer to the Waza National Park enjoy better access to pastures and water points, but bear the heaviest losses. These herdsmen said that the benefits of improved grazing and water outweigh the cost of lion kills. Further from the park, depredation decreases, but during the wet season, when water is abundant and lush vegetation offers hiding places, lions wander off and take livestock at larger distances. The research also showed that having cattle increases the risk of losing goats or sheep to lions, probably because sheep and goats graze with the cows further away from the villages and in larger numbers, which makes it easier for lions to approach livestock unnoticed. Herdsmen even claimed that lions follow nomadic herds during the wet season far outside the park, and during this period these lions also raid sedentary livestock of villages they pass. Surprisingly, herdsmen who try to chase the lions away when attacked reported larger losses, probably because the confusion created scatters the herds, and lions benefit from this.One day around noon, while interviewing some villagers, two researchers were called by some excited herdsmen, who reported an attack by lions. The group headed to the scene just outside of the village, only about a kilometre from where the interview was taking place, and found three dead sheep and a calf, with clear bite marks in their necks. One of the herdsmen explained:
“We tried to chase away the lions, but they weren’t impressed and only moved a bit further away from us, where they grabbed another sheep. That’s how they do it, they just kill. They’ve taken one sheep with them, but the calf and the other three sheep were killed for nothing. We can’t eat the meat, as Muslim traditions require animals to be killed by a Muslim”
The research team recommended that herding methods could be changed in order to decrease the livestock losses, such as by having protective thorn enclosures, called bomas, or more herdsmen, as dogs for guarding livestock are not a suitable alternative in this Islamic part of Cameroon. Lion predation is a common phenomenon in the area, and people have accommodated these violent encounters in their day-to-day life, and apparently make a trade-off between the extra benefits of living closer to the national park, and the increased risk of losing animals to lions.
Davina Quarterman | alfa
Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University
New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine