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Discovery of Lions in Chad Brings Joy to Conservationists Who Thought the Species Extinct in the Region

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‘Extinct’ lion caught on camera: Conservationists hail ‘hugely encouraging’ discovery in Chad, where the animals were believed to be extinct

  • The image was captured on a remote camera in February in Sena Oura National Park
  • The animals have not been seen in the national park since 2004

Conservationists have hailed the “hugely encouraging” discovery of a lion in Chad, where the animals were thought to be extinct.

The animal was spotted in Sena Oura National Park, where they have not been seen since 2004.

A team of conservationists from the government of Chad and the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has released a photo of a lioness.

“The picture shows an excellent, very healthy adult lioness about five years old,” Luke Hunter, executive director of the WCS Big Cat programme, told the BBC.

“I’m sure she’s not alone,” he added.

The image, captured by a remote camera in the protected area in February, was released Thursday. The animal was spotted in Sena Oura National Park, where they have not been seen since 2004

The image, captured by a remote camera in the protected area in February, was released Thursday.

Dr. Hunter said: “This is hugely encouraging, because outstanding females form the basis of any lion population, and they are not large wanderers: they inhabit areas that have prey and are safe to raise their cubs.”

He also noted that the discovery was an early sign of lions recovering in a neighboring national park in Cameroon.

In 2014, the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species determined that lions were extinct in Sena Oura.

The WCS says the national park “went through a period of relentless, organized poaching more than a decade ago, but has since benefited from a very strong conservation commitment by the governments of both Cameroon and Chad.”

It added: ‘This has led to better protection of the national parks and wildlife populations are now starting to recover.’

Dr. Hunter says there are about 22,000 to 24,000 lions left in the wild, most of which are classified as the southern lion subspecies native to southern and eastern Africa.

There are fewer than 1,000 northern lions in Central and West Africa, and they are “particularly endangered and precious,” he said.

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