LIONS AND THEIR PREY IN KENYA’S MAASAI MARA 2018
Can inventive livestock management bring balance between lions, other predators, and prey back to the Kenyan savanna?
How do lions impact the Kenyan savanna? Greater populations of this predator seem to be linked to declines in rare large herbivores, including many iconic antelope species that tourists in Kenya want to see. So landowners who depend on tourism are considering lethal methods to manage predators, further jeopardizing these big cats.
But what if both predators and their fragile prey could thrive? Lions most commonly eat zebras, which have a robust population in the area. And zebras seem to prefer areas where cattle have grazed. By carefully managing the relationships between these species, researchers think it’s possible to influence where the lions seek their meals.
The research will contribute to this innovative look at how cattle ranching could transform African landscapes. Using radio collars on some of the lions and cheetahs, you’ll track their movements and document their use of the landscape and identify any depredation events by species and location. research volunteers also checked camera trap images for leopards, wild dogs, spotted hyenas, and other predators. And you’ll survey zebras and other herbivores like hartebeest, topi, and eland to learn how their populations shift with cattle ranching.