The Matusadona Lion Conservation Unit (LCU) provides an important source population of lions in the larger Sebungwe / Mid Zambezi landscape, yet numbers have drastically declined from c. 100 lions to c. 30 in 2 decades. This loss has been attributed to declining buffalo numbers following a rise in lake water levels. However, activities outside the protected area have also impacted the viability of this population. Prior to the project's formation the nature and extent of such threats had not been studied extensively.
Beyond the Matusadona NP boundary the Sebungwe landscape has suffered unprecedented habitat and wildlife loss through habitat degradation and encroachment, poaching and major economic constraints. This has resulted in the isolation of Matusadona NP from other lion populations, hindering the long-term viability of its sub-population and that of other large carnivores.
To improve the conservation prospects of lions and Matusadona as a LCU we are engaging in programs that directly address broader issues pertaining to:
increasing human-carnivore coexistence amongst communities bordering Matusadona NP
improving connectivity value of the landscape for dispersing animals
assisting relevant wildlife management plans and policies to better address lion conservation issues
supporting and assisting anti-poaching programs to help secure important 'lion corridors'
We believe sound scientific research must support and guide in situ conservation action to ensure efforts are effective and sustainable in the long-term. All our conservation programs are therefore guided by our research.