It is amazing that a free roaming lion population still exist in Southern Africa that science know almost nothing about. I was in Malawi for my masters for 15 months in 2014 & 2015. During that time, twice a free roaming lion made local news headlines. I was told that these lions crossed the border from Mozambique's Tete province where a free roaming lion population still apparently existed. After doing my own research I actually found scientific evidence to back such a statement (http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/194008291300600110).
Only twice has a population estimate been done for about half of the Tete province in Mozambique, which estimated around 200 lions. For the whole province, the lion population is probably closer to 300 animals.What we hope to achieve is tosetup a lion project in the area which addresses and resolves human-lionconflict by making use of wildlife education in schools and implementing thesteps presented in the human-lion conflict toolkit(http://www.niassalion.org/library_files/2015-English-Toolkit.pdf) to try and secure this population.
Our first step would be to travel to Mozambique to engage with village leaders on the possibilities of such a project in the area. With their permission we'd like to visit schools, distribute the human-lion conflict toolkit and setup camera traps. Through camera traps we would be able to determine lion densities for specific areas which will assist villagers in knowing which areas are high risk grazing areas.The photos from camera traps also make great visual material for educating school children.
In the future we would also like to collar lions, as this have proven success in reducing conflict by enabling villagers to avoid lions. We would also like to setup an eco-tourism model for the area which focuses on lions, as we believe when lions can serve as a source of income locals would be motivated to ensure the safety and future of these animals. We would like to follow a similar model as what is being used in Central Africa for gorilla trekking. Tete lion trekking would be the first of its kind in Africa. Long term we have a vision to train someone local who would be able to take the project forward.