Researchers Stumble on 'Hidden' Lion Population

Study confirms lions live in Ethiopia park, possibly another in Sudan
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 1, 2016 11:55 AM CST
Researchers Stumble on 'Hidden' Lion Population
In this file photo taken July 7, 2015, an old male lion raises his head above the long grass in the early morning in the Maasai Mara, southwestern Kenya.   (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

Conservationists say they have confirmed the existence of lions in a remote national park in Ethiopia, a rare piece of good news for a threatened species whose numbers have plunged in many parts of Africa, the AP reports. Born Free, a charity based in Britain, said in a statement Monday that the discovery was made in Alatish National Park in northwest Ethiopia, on the border with Sudan. The charity says conservationists obtained camera trap images of lions and also identified lion tracks, confirming reports from local residents that lions were in the area.

"During my professional career I have had to revise the lion distribution map many times," lead researcher Hans Bauer tells New Scientist. "I have deleted one population after the other. This is the first and probably the last time that I’m putting a new one up there." Alatish borders on Sudan's Dinder National Park, which Bauer thinks is also home to lions—with a combined population of 100 to 200. (More Africa stories.)

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