The Tiniest Tiger Cat Community Caring about Cats, Big and Small Fri, 27 Mar 2015 15:17:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Ban the Importation of African Lion Trophies Fri, 27 Mar 2015 14:07:40 +0000 African Male Lion photo by Beverly Joubert

African Male Lion photo by Beverly Joubert

Australia Bans the Importation of African Lion Trophies

Last Friday, at the Global March for Lions in Melbourne’s Federation Square, Environment Minister Greg Hunt announced a ban on the importation of lion trophies to tighten down the heinous practice of canned hunting. Effective immediately, Australians who hunt and kill lions in Africa will be stopped from bringing hunting trophies back into the country.

Mr. Hunt stated, “Canned hunting is real. It exists, It shouldn’t exist.  It is about raising the most majestic of creatures for a singular purpose and that is to kill them, to shoot them for pleasure and for profit.  It is done in inhumane conditions. It is involving things such as raising and then drugging and in many cases, baiting. It is simply not acceptable in our day, in our time, on our watch.”

Trophies from elephants from safari hunts were already on the banned list of imports to Australia and rhinoceros trophies were added last year. The ban on the import of trophies from African lions by Australia sends an important message internationally that Australia will not support the possible extinction of the African lion.

Canned Hunting Does Not Protect Wild African Lions

In South Africa, there are an estimated 160 lion farms breeding more than 5,000 lions a year to feed the demand of cruel trophy hunters from the USA to China. These canned hunts are poorly regulated and the intensive breeding of the lions and their later transfer to be murdered are inhumane.  Canned hunting operations allow incompetent  marksmen to shoot lions with high powered rifles or a bow. In many cases the lions are only wounded by the amateur hunter and have to be killed by a professional marksmen, making the lions suffer a long and painful death.

Canned hunting operators boast they are protecting the future of wild lions by breeding lions for  trophy hunters. But this is not true.  The vast majority of trophy hunters only take the skin or the head of the lion leaving the bones and the bones are a valuable commodity to the medicine markets of China, Laos, and Vietnam.  This growing source of revenue from the lion bone trade is thought to be leading to an increasing level of poaching of wild African lions.

The thought among conservationists is that the mostly legal trade in bones from farmed lions killed in canned hunts could provide a cover for the illegal trade in wild lion bones and perhaps even tiger bones too.  DNA analysis could give important indications of the presence of wild lion remains because the farmed lions are likely to be more genetically uniform than wild lions. But wouldn’t it be best to just stop the cruel canned hunts altogether?

The Exploitation of African Lion Cubs

cub being hand fed

Young lion being hand fed

Canned hunting businesses exploit lion cubs and young lions to support their revenue stream.  There are tourist attractions in South Africa offering the opportunity to spend time in close contact with cubs and young lions.  Many of these operations claim to be conservation programs and even have volunteers help look after the lions.  But the truth is much more sinister.  These lions are being socialized to trust humans so that when they are placed in front of a brutish trophy hunter they will be easier to murder with a rifle or bow.  These lions associate humans with food and survival until they are betrayed by the people they learned to trust. But that lesson comes too late for the lions.

It is simply not acceptable in our day, in our time, on our watch

Mr. Hunt’s words certainly ring true don’t they? “It is simply not acceptable in our day, in our time, on our watch.”  We as a people know better.  We need to do better.  Australia took this step.  Come on, United States, do the right thing.

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Cats Imitate Kitty Cat Coin Bank Wed, 25 Mar 2015 12:45:13 +0000 Annie and Eddie in box

Cats and Boxes

It is certainly no secret that cats love to play in boxes. Whenever we get a delivery, as soon as I unpack the box, and remove the tape (Annie likes to chomp on the tape), Annie jumps right in and begins to play.  After he comes back out from under the ottoman, making sure the loud truck has left the driveway, Eddie joins Annie and the shenanigans begin.

The two cats will play off and on all day long and probably through the night if Paul didn’t lock the box with the crinkly brown paper up in the sun room so he can get some much needed rest.  The cats take turns hiding inside the box while the other sneaks around waiting to be pounced upon. Sometimes Annie and Eddie team up and hide inside the box waiting for Mercy to walk by.  But Mercy is smart enough to take the long way around the box on his way to the sunroom.

The Itazura Kitty Cat Coin Bank

A few days ago, after I unpacked a larger box, I took a few moments to watch Annie and Eddie playing.  I couldn’t help but notice their behavior reminded me of the Itazura Kitty Cat Coin Bank.

Japanese Kitty Cat Coin Bank


Have you seen this cute coin bank?  The kitty hides inside the box waiting patiently to pop out to take your coins.  When I saw Annie hiding inside the box with just her ears and eyes showing, she reminded me of the kitty inside the coin bank.  Then when I saw Eddie keep coming back to check on her, I imagined the two cats pretending that Annie was the kitty inside the coin bank and Eddie was looking for a coin.

You can see the cats playing kitty cat coin bank in this short video.  We hope you like the video.

Cats Imitate Kitty Cat Coin Bank



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Cats Put Paws in Snow For First Time Sun, 22 Mar 2015 18:04:55 +0000 Annie looking at snow

Annie checking out the snow.

Cats Fascinated By Snow

Paul and I do our best to provide environmental enrichment for our cats Annie, Eddie and Mercy.  The sunroom in our home, designed by Paul, was built to enable Gracey to see comfortably out of the lower row of windows. The larger windows have screens we used to be able to open but now with Annie, we need to place a bar in the window to prevent the windows from opening too wide. We open just enough to let the fresh air in but not wide enough for Annie to get overly excited and bust through. The cats have toys and beds and their beloved Cat Power Tower in the sun room so it’s no wonder why it is their favorite room in the house.

Eddie snowflakes

Eddie watching snowflakes fall.

This winter we had quite a bit of snow and both Annie and Eddie seemed fascinated by the white blanket surrounding their sunroom.  Mercy was happy just to curl up on the sofa and take a long winter’s nap.

Mercy tummy up in sun room

Mercy soaking up the sun.

Annie and Eddie Put Their Paws in the Snow.

When the last significant snow for this winter season fell earlier this month, we let Annie and Eddie experience snow under their paws. Though they both couldn’t seem to contain their excitement at first, their enthusiasm was rather short lived as you will see in this short video.

My favorite part is Eddie giving us the stink eye in the end. He was quick to run inside and warm himself on the chair by the fireplace. I don’t think we will get Eddie back out in the snow anytime soon…or… ever.

You might remember that Gracey wasn’t so fond of the snow either from her video The Tiniest Tiger’s Snow Adventure. If you are new to The Tiniest Tiger community here is the video that won us the CatVenture Category in the 2013 The Friskies.

The Tiniest Tiger’s Snow Adventure

Annie and Eddie, just like Gracey, prefer to experience the great outdoors from the safety of their sunroom.   Good riddance winter. We are ready for Spring.

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Help Choose the Cheetah Color For Our New Handbag Fri, 20 Mar 2015 16:38:49 +0000 Namibia

 The Namib Desert

 I was able to travel through the Namib Desert after spending time at the Cheetah Conservation Fund during my zoology studies. The Namib is referred to as the world’s oldest desert and has existed for an estimated 43 million years, remaining unchanged in its present form for the last two million years.

The Namib is an enormous expanse of constantly moving gravel plains and dunes of all shapes and sizes stretching along the entire coastline. The western section of Namibia is comprised of the Namib, which expands beyond the borders of Namibia into southern Angola and the northern Cape Province of South Africa. With transient rivers flowing unexpectedly across the ancient landscape, its dunes, plains, rivers and a foggy coast are all vital to supporting  a fascinating array of unique desert flora and fauna. Despite the harsh conditions, the southern Namib is home to over 600 species of plants, the central Namib 400 species and some 1,000 species in the northern Namib. Even though starved of water for most of the year, succulents and shrubs survive in ridges and valley floors during periods of extremely windy conditions.

My friend Kim and I were fortunate enough to have the owner of the tour company pick us up and take us on a private tour of the Namib.  He rarely gives tours. He said he was in the office and decided to do the tour himself that day. A conservationist, owner of his own preserve as  well as a former Nat Geo photographer, this native Namibian was an amazing wealth of information and his passion for the Namib was contagious. We were just lucky that day. When I close my eyes I can still imagine the smells, sounds and feel of that magical place.

Namibia is Home to the Largest Population of  Wild Cheetahs

Namibia is also home to the largest remaining population of wild cheetahs.  This unique cat is Africa’s most endangered cat.  Just like all the other species fighting for survival, the problems facing the cheetah are complex and multi-faceted but can be  grouped into three familiar categories:

  1. Habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation
  2. Human-wildlife conflict
  3. Illegal wildlife trade
Cheetah in front of waterberg plateau

Cheetah in front of the Waterberg Plateau in Namibia

Cheetah running at CCF

Cheetah running in Namibia

Cheeta Bellabino

Cheetah at Bellabino, CCF

Triple T Studios Namibia Inspired Handbag

I wanted to create a handbag that looks like Namibia feels.  I wanted the colors to reflect the Namib and also pay homage to the cheetah.  The images below are the final designs for the new Triple T Studios handbag coming later this summer.  But I need your help.  Would you be willing to tell me if you prefer the lighter or darker embroidered cheetahs?  I honestly, like them both but am partial to one.  I would love it if you would help us make this decision.

If you would like to participate just fill out the form below the images of the new Cheetah handbag. As a thank you for your helping us decide, if you leave your email and name with your color choice, we will send you a discount code to purchase our new bag at a low introductory price sure to make you purr.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this handbag will support the Cheetah Conservation Fund.

Triple T Studios Cheetah Handbag

Lighter Embroidered Cheetahs

Triple T Studios Cheetah Bag

Darker embroidered cheetahs

If you are reading this via email, here is the link to the survey form.   Help Us Choose the Cheetah Color


Thank you so much for your support of Triple T Studios!




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Bring Some Love Home #FoodShelterLove Fri, 20 Mar 2015 11:45:56 +0000 This post is sponsored by Hill’s. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s® Science Diet® and Food, Shelter & Love™ Program, but The Tiniest Tiger only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

 Cats Come into Shelters for a Lot of Different Reasons.

Annie and Eddie in their cage

Annie and Eddie waiting for their forever home.

As you might already know, we adopted Annie and Eddie from the Grayson County Humane Society after Annie caught my eye while  looking at my Facebook newsfeed. There was a little twinkle in her eye and I could tell she was the cat for us. When Donna sent us the video of Annie and Eddie together, it didn’t take long for us to load up the Jeep and drive the 14 hour roundtrip to adopt our new family members. Annie and Eddie were a bonded pair and they are still best friends today. Annie and Eddie were part of the kitten season population explosion that year and were lucky enough to enter a wonderful shelter that took such good care of them.

Annie and Eddie kissing

Annie and Eddie, still best friends.

 Meet Emma!  A Senior Cat Adoption Success Story

Sherri's Emma

Emma in her new loving forever home.

Sherri is a member of our The Tiniest Tiger community. She was heartbroken when she lost her two cats, Claude and Trixie. Like all of us who loved and had to say goodbye to our cats, Sherri thought that she might adopt another cat some day but she just wasn’t ready.

Then she saw the video the shelter made of  Emma, a senior cat surrendered by her former owner after ten years. Sherri told me she knew immediately Emma was the cat for her. Emma

Like Sherri, Paul and I didn’t think we were ready to adopt a cat after we lost Gracey. But, then I saw Annie’s photo. Sherri told me she thought about something we talk about here in our community about how there are so many cats that need homes and we have homes, so why wait to bring some love home.

 The Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love™ Program Helps Cats Get a Fresh Start

Food Shelter Love

Hill’s Food, Shelter, & Love Program helps cats in shelters  get a fresh start at life. The program offers shelters the opportunity to offer quality nutrition to their resident cats and kittens while providing the proper nutrition for each individual cat’s current need.

One of the biggest needs is to help overweight cats shed the unnecessary weight in an easily duplicated process that can be continued when they find their forever home. Hill’s offers that with their Perfect Weight Diet.  The Hill’s® Science Diet® Adult Perfect Weight dry cat food provides breakthrough nutrition formulated to help your cat achieve a healthy weight and improve quality of life.

Hill's Science Diet Perfect Weight


The Adult Perfect Weight formula is 100% precisely balanced nutrition and is ideal for multi-cat homes and shelters too with cats of different breeds and weights. In fact, over 70% of cats lost weight within 10 weeks when fed this nutrition.  We all love our cats and want what is best for them.  Helping them maintain a healthy weight adds to quality of life and life expectancy.

With the help of the Hill’s Food, Shelter, & Love Program shelters are able to turn a cat from unadoptable, or difficult to adopt, to a pet that people walk into the shelter and point to and say, “That is the cat for me!”

The Denver Dumb Friends League is a participant in the Food, Shelter & Love program and has been feeding their overweight cats Hill’s Perfect Weight cat food.

Here is Stoli, from the Dumb Friends League’s Success Story,

If you’re interested in trying Hill’s Perfect Weight cat food, you can buy it here.  There are dry and canned varieties, and your purchase helps support the Food, Shelter & Love program.

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African Lion Returns to Gabon After 20 Year Absence Wed, 18 Mar 2015 14:58:45 +0000 Lion close up Heart of Africa

photo by Joanne McGonagle

 Male African lion caught on camera trap in Gabon

For the first time since 1996, conservationists have proof of a wild lion roaming  within the Central African country of Gabon.  A young and healthy-looking male was captured on a camera trap in Batéké Plateau National Park, a large area of grasslands and forests. While this national park is a perfect habitat for lions, the big cats have not been seen in any large numbers in these grasslands since the 1950’s.

Conservationists are not certain if this lion remains from the old population or is transient from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The closest lion population is several hundred kilometers away from Batéké Plateau.  Male lions are known to travel far in search of a mate but if this lion is in fact a transient, he would have had to swim the Congo River.

Philipp Henschel, Lion Program Survey Coordinator for cat conservation group Panthera, told Reuters that  he couldn’t believe it when he saw the footage showing a male lion in the park.  He and his team went out to set up more cameras as soon as possible.  The camera traps were initially set-up by The Aspinall Foundation and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology’s Pan African-Program: The Cultured Chimpanzee, to monitor chimpanzees in the park, but videotaped the male lion three times since January.  Locals have reported hearing lion roars at night as well.

The return of the lion brings hope for the species

“The return of lions to the Batéké marks a significant step in the work of [the Aspinall Foundation] to do everything humanly possible to encourage endangered species to return to the ancestral homelands which are their rightful place,” said Damian Aspinall, Chairman of The Aspinall Foundation, which has been working in Batéké Plateau National Park for years, focusing on western lowland gorillas.

Lions are vanishing across Africa at an alarming rate.  A 2012 study in Biological Conservation found that lion populations had fallen  by 68 percent in just 50 years.  During this same 50 years, lion habitat vanished by 75 percent. If the lions are returning to Gabon it could be a much needed boost for the species as the country is one of the largest supporters of conservation on the African continent.  In 2002, the country set aside 10 percent of its landmass as protected areas, including 13 national parks.

You can watch the footage of the lion in Gabon in the video below.

New footage of lion, thought to be extinct in the Gabon

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Texts From Mittens Giveaway Tue, 17 Mar 2015 13:59:04 +0000 Texts from mittens cover

Texts From Mittens

Our friend Angie Bailey’s new book Texts From Mittens is being released at the end of this month.  We met Angie a few years ago at a BlogPaws conference when we were looking for a seat before one of the sessions.  There was a sign in the row we had chosen that said “Hot Seats” and we looked at each other and sat a row behind.  We shared a good laugh when we were told that a hot seat meant the wifi signal was stronger there.

Angie has a wicked sense of humor and is the author of WhiskersList and her new book Texts From Mittens.  Since today is St. Patrick’s Day I thought it was fitting that we launch Angie’s book giveaway today.  The Irish are known for their sense of humor and we think you will get a lot of laughs from the antics of Mittens.

sample page Texts from Mittens

About Texts From Mittens

Texts FromMittens is a series of text message conversations between a snappy, self-absorbed housecat named Mittens and his long-suffering human, a single woman who works away from home during the day. Mittens relentlessly hassles his human all day long, while only taking breaks to watch Judge Judy, hand with his best friend Stumpy, complain about the antics of Drunk Patty the neighbor, ask Grandma for money to buy useless items from QVC, and harass the “filthy beast” dog, Phil.

The Text From Mittens Giveaway

One  member of The Tiniest Tiger community will win a copy of  Texts From Mittens.

If you can’t wait and would like to get your own copy, you can find it here:  Texts From Mittens.

How to Enter. 2 Easy Steps.

  1. Enter your information in the contest widget so we know where to ship your prize if you win.
  2. Leave a comment below this post telling us if your cat could text, what do you think he/she would text to you?

This giveaway is open to addresses in the US and Canada only.  The copy of Texts From Mittens will be shipped directly from the publisher.  Void where prohibited.


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Amur Tiger Father Leads Family Through Snow Thu, 12 Mar 2015 13:02:52 +0000 tiger family photo

Adult Male tiger leading mother and three cubs in Russia. Photo by: WCS, Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Reserve, and Udegeiskaya Legenda National Park

First Ever Photos of Adult Male Amur Tiger with Family

A camera trap placed in the bitterly cold Russian forest snapped images of tigers. At first this might not sound so unusual, but captured on the camera were images of an adult male Amur tiger leading what is thought to be his family, a female and three cubs, through the snow. These images  are the first ever documenting a father Amur tiger with a mother and cubs.

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Russia Program, in partnership with the Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Reserve and Udegeiskaya Legenda National Park, released the camera trap slideshow of the family of Amur tigers in the wild showing an adult male with family.  Scientists note this is a first in terms of photographing this behavior, as adult male tigers are usually solitary.  The series of images show the entire family as they walked past the  camera trap over a period of two minutes.

According to Dale Miquelle, the Russia Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS),George Schaller documented Bengal tiger familial groups of Bengal tiger as early as the 1960’s but these images are the first time this behavior has been photographed for wild Amur tigers. These images allow a small vignette of social interactions of Amur tigers and a glimpse of life in the wild for these amazing secretive animals.

Hundreds of photos have been taken over the years, but this is the first time scientists have recorded a family together.  These images confirm that male Amur tigers do participate in family life, at least occasionally. The camera traps that took these remarkable images were set up by Svetlana Soutyrina, the Deputy Director for Scientific Programs at the Sikhote-Alin Bioshpere Reserve.

Rare Amur Tiger Family Captured on Camera  WCS

Amur Tiger Back From Brink of Extinction

In the mid-Twentieth Century, Amur tigers were on the brink of extinction with only an estimated 20 surviving in the wild.  Fear that the largest subspecies of tiger would follow the Javan, Bali and Caspian into extinction, conservationists began an aggressive plan to save the Amur tiger.  In 2005, scientists estimated 430-500 wild tigers in the Russian Far East forests with a few showing up in neighboring China.  Last month, tiger experts conducted another decadal survey to see how the tiger is faring and will publish their findings this summer.

Amur Tiger photo by Joanne McGonagle

The WCS Russia Program plays a critical role in monitoring tigers and their prey species in the Russian Far East and minimizing potential conflicts between tigers and human communities. WCS works to save tiger populations and their remaining habitat in nine range countries across Asia.

This program has been supported by the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation, the Columbus Zoo Conservation Fund* the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Rhinoceros & Tiger Conservation Fund, the AZA Tiger Species Survival Plan’s Tiger Conservation Campaign, and the US Forest Service International Programs.

 The Tiniest Tiger’s Conservation Cub Club is a contributor to the Columbus Zoo Conservation Fund.

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How to Keep Your Cat From Climbing Curtains. The Cat’s Trapeze Mon, 09 Mar 2015 22:50:02 +0000 CatsTrapeeze2

The Cat’s Trapeze is an alternative to curtain climbing.

Your Cat Can’t Control Her Desire to Climb

Your cat’s desire to climb is hardwired.  She has an inherent need to climb and  observe from a high perch.  She can’t help this desire; it is part of her true nature. If  your cat  is climbing your curtains, jumping up on your counters, or patrolling the back of your sofa maybe it is because you haven’t provided her a suitable alternative.  Your cat needs to seek refuge in a higher location, so instead of feeling frustrated and fighting your cat’s natural instinct, help her find a good place to climb.

Why Your Cat Needs to Climb

Cats are both predator and prey in the wild.  Cats know at any time they could fall victim to one of their predators. For this reason, cats need to take refuge in high places to both stay safe and to watch for potential prey. The leopard is the most adept of all  big cats at climbing trees. The agile leopard  has a unique locking wrist and their scapula is attached to their muscles enabling them to scramble swiftly into the treetops.

Even though your cat might not climb as well as her big cat cousin, she is always on the lookout for a safe place to sleep and observe her surroundings. Your house cat might be much smaller, but she thinks  like a leopard. If your cat doesn’t have access to a high place to perch, this might be why she is climbing the curtains.

 The Cat’s Trapeze Provides an Alternative to Curtains

Cat's Trapeze

The Cat’s Trapeze includes a cotton hammock creating an extra napping spot.

The Cat’s Trapeze offers kittens and active cats the perfect place to play and rest. The unique suspended design is attractive to active cats, challenging them to climb and play while drawing their attention away from curtains and furniture. The large soft cushions also provide a cozy place for a catnap.

The Cat’s Trapeze includes a bonus cotton hammock that attaches under the bottom pillow, creating an extra napping spot. The trapeze also comes with a small piece of sisal rope that is used to bind the trapeze straps together and attach to mounting hardware. (Mounting hardware not included.) More info about how to hang the Cat’s Trapeze at

The Cat’s Trapeze is made of sturdy cotton fabric and comes without the inner pillows. The trapeze can be stuffed with throw pillows, or for a more eco-friendly approach, use old towels, recycled clothes or crumpled newspapers placed inside a pillowcase. Inner pillows made especially for filling the trapeze can be purchased separately at

The Cat’s Trapeze is available in two styles: the 2-pillow trapeze and the 3-pillow trapeze. The 2-pillow trapeze measures approximately 3.5 feet, not including the hammock. The larger bottom cushion measures approximately 24 inches in diameter and the upper cushion measures approximately 20 inches. The 3-pillow trapeze measures approximately 4.5 feet, not including the hammock, with the two bottom cushions each measuring approximately 24 inches in diameter and the upper cushion measuring approximately 20 inches.


If you have been looking for a way to keep your cat from climbing your curtains, The Cat Trapeze might me the solution and members of The Tiniest Tiger community can save $10 by using the code TTSAVE10

To learn more about The Cat Trapeze visit their website:

  • Your $10 discount will be applied to each trapeze ordered.
  • Your discount code is active through 11:59 pm on March 15, 2015.
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Code Red for the Lions in West and Central Africa Thu, 05 Mar 2015 14:48:12 +0000 Lion Heart of AFricaDecline in Prey Detrimental to Lions

While lion populations are stable in a hand full of South African nations, sharp declines have occurred in West, Central and East Africa.  The declines are driven by the usual suspects: habitat loss, indiscriminate killing of lions in response to livestock conflict, depletion of prey through unsustainable bushmeat trade and unregulated sport hunting.  These threats limit lion populations by varying degrees per country but until recently the impact of bushmeat hunting had been ignored. Now, it is understood that loss of prey due to the over hunting of ungulates is  problematic in every single protected area of savannah habitat.

The African lion is the largest land predator of the continent and needs a steady supply of prey. Lion populations are  directly related to the number of wild herbivores weighing 200-550 kilograms. Unfortunately, these same larger ungulates are the targets of the unsustainable and increasingly commercialized bushmeat trade.  This trade has led to the collapse in prey populations across large parts of savannah Africa.

African lion in the grass

The bushmeat trade is motivated by human encroachment into wildlife areas, poverty, and food insecurity.  In addition, conservation efforts have been hindered by inadequate wildlife laws and enforcement.  Population data from 1970-2005 on 78 species of herbivores revealed a decline by 52% in Eastern Africa and by 85% in West Africa.

This decline of ungulates is detrimental for lions and a major effort to survey lion populations across West and Central Africa proved this to be true.  Between 2006 and 2012, 21 protected areas were surveyed,  including all of the largest protected areas with the lion’s historical range in West Africa.  Every site reported lions in 2005, however when the survey was complete, of the 21 protected areas surveyed, only 4 still contained lions.

Lions of West and Central Africa Expected to be Added to the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered

Photo by @lifeonwwhite

Photo by @lifeonwwhite

The total West African lion population is estimated to range between 273-605 individuals, and likely less than 250 mature lions. 90% of the remaining lions survive in one population in a protected area that straddles the border region of Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger. A small population of less than 50 individuals survive in Senegal and Nigeria’s game reserves.

These startling results warrant listing the lion as Critically Endangered in West Africa on the IUCN Red List.  The current IUCN Red List already supports a separate regional listing of the lion in West Africa and is expected to respond to this dire situation by assigning lions the highest threat category in this region when the updated Red List is published later this year.

This listing might draw some much-needed attention to the predicament of the lion in West Africa,  but solid measures are urgent to safeguard the remaining  lion populations.

The Lions of West and Central Africa are an Irreplaceable Subspecies

The lions of West and Central Africa are irreplaceable.  Recent molecular study has separated modern lions into a northern group, comprising the last remaining Asiatic lions in India, the extinct Barbary lions of North Africa, and lions from West and Central Africa and a southern group, comprising lions in East and Southern Africa.  Lion geneticists argue in support of a taxonomic revision of the lion and call for recognition of a southern and a northern subspecies, as opposed to the current division of an African and an Asian subspecies.  Of the estimated 30,000 lions surviving today, 90% belong to the southern group.

Conservationists plead that the imperiled northern group, comprising the unique lions of West and Central Africa calls for emergency and coordinated intervention before it is too late.


Henschel P and Hunter L, 2014. The dire conservation status of lions in West and Central Africa,  Current Conservation, Vol. 8 Issue 4,  12-13.

Henschel P et al. 2014. The Lion in West Africa is Critically Endangered. PLoS One, 9, e83500.

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