Chad: ‘Extinct’ lion spotted in national park | WorldNews

lion

The lion has been spotted in Chad’s Sena Oura National Park (Picture: Elliot Wagland)

A lion believed to be extinct has been spotted in a national park for the first time in nearly 20 years.

The ‘very healthy’ lioness has been seen in Chad’s Sena Oura National Park, a region which has seen a period of ‘ruthless and organized poaching’ in the past.

But her presence is an early sign lion numbers in the area may be on the increase again.

‘The photo shows a prime, very healthy adult lioness, around five years old,’ WCS Big Cat Program executive director Luke Hunter told the BBC.

‘I am sure she is not alone,’ he said.

The photo is from February but was only released on Thursday and was taken by a remote camera in the protected area.

‘This is hugely encouraging because prime females are the foundation of any lion population, and they are not big wanderers: they inhabit areas that have prey and are safe to raise their cubs in,’ said Dr Hunter.

Lions had been classified as ‘technically extinct’ in Sena Oura having not been seen there since 2004.

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The location of where the lioness has been found in Chad

The WCS says the region ‘saw a period of ruthless, organized poaching more than a decade ago, but has since benefitted from a very strong commitment to conservation by the governments of both Cameroon and Chad’.

‘This has produced better protection of the national parks and wildlife populations are now starting to recover,’ the organization added.

There are about 22,000-24,000 lions left in the wild, the majority of which live in east and south Africa.

In west and central Africa there are fewer than 1,000 lions and they are classified as ‘especially endangered and precious’.

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