Population size of lions in Yankari Game Reserve as revealed by faecal DNA sampling

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Abstract

Studies have shown that lion (Panthera leo) populations in West Africa are small, isolated and fragmented. In Nigeria, lions have disappeared from unprotected areas and are nowadays found only in parks and reserves where these populations may still decline. It is therefore urgent to obtain reliable estimates of population sizes at different localities. Direct observational surveys may either fail to count all individuals or count some individuals repeatedly and are therefore associated with unknown levels of estimation errors. More accurate estimates can be obtained if direct counting is combined with DNA-based individual identification. As lions are difficult to identify individually, presented here is a method that can be a valuable addition to the existing census methods.Resume Des etudes ont montre que les populations de lions Panthera leo d'Afrique de l'Ouest sont petites, isolees et fragmentees. Au Nigeria, les lions ont disparu des zones non protegees et ne se trouvent plus aujourd'hui que dans des parcs et des reserves ou leurs populations peuvent d'ailleurs encore decliner. Il est donc urgent d'avoir des estimations fiables de la taille des populations en differents endroits. Les etudes par observations directes risquent de ne pas reussir a compter tous les individus ou, a l'oppose, d'en compter certains plusieurs fois, et on les associe des lors de niveaux d'erreur d'estimation inconnus. On peut obtenir des estimations plus precises si les comptages directs sont combines avec des identifications individuelles basees sur des analyses d'ADN. Comme les lions sont difficiles a identifier individuellement, voici presentee ici une methode qui peut etre un ajout interessant aux methodes de recensement existantes.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biological Sciences

Keywords

  • noninvasive sampling, faecal DNA, isolated population, African lion
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)949-952
JournalAfrican Journal of Ecology
Volume48
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes