Estimating Lion Abundance in Tanzania

The current methods for estimating lion abundance are imprecise. The goal of the Tanzania Lion Project is to improve survey methods to allow consistent and accurate lion abundance estimation within the Serengeti National Park study area. This project is a game changer, ensuring that management of the African lion is based on science, and helping to put SCI Foundation front and center in the lion research community.

Species involved: Lion

Project partners: Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, The State University of New York

Total SCIF Investment: $500,000+ (With help from HLF and Fighting For Lions)

Year SCIF began involvement: 2014 (Timeline: 2014-Ongoing)


Project Objectives

1) Compare various techniques including call-up stations, track surveys, and camera surveys to estimate lion abundance.

2) Evaluate improvements to survey techniques, such as call types and tracker experience.

3) Estimate costs to conduct surveys and identify tradeoffs among cost-efficiency, accuracy, and precision in lion surveys.


Anticipated Outcomes

This project is one of the few to quantitatively compare survey methods for lions in the field, and has produced the most efficient and accurate techniques available. As such, it is critical to assessment of lion populations in southern Africa. More effective surveys help to retain the ability to sustainably manage lions through regulated harvest.