(last car admitted into the preserve at 4:30PM)
(For more information on the Tonkolili Chimpanzee Project, visit http://tonkolilichimpanzeeproject.com/)
The Tonkolili Chimpanzee Project [TCP] is a conservation initiative based out of Sierra Leone, and was co-founded by LCS Curator of Conservation, Research and Chimpanzees, Dr. Tina Cloutier Barbour in 2012. The project’s chief goal is the conservation of chimpanzees and their habitat through local community stewardship.
Chimpanzees in West Africa face unique conservation challenges, with more than 75% of the chimpanzee populations having disappeared over the last 30 years—largely due to a combination of severe habitat loss alongside the bush meat and pet trade industries. In Sierra Leone, this threat is even more apparent, as a greater portion of the national chimpanzee population lives outside of protected areas than inside. Therefore, the conservation of small groups of chimpanzees who find themselves living alongside human villages is of utmost concern.
In order to address these conservation difficulties, we developed the Tonkolili Chimpanzee Project. We have been monitoring the local chimpanzee communities through two noninvasive methods since 2012: population censusing and camera trapping. Together, these endeavors provide data regarding the success of the local chimpanzee communities; we infer information about birth rates, population sustainability, individual health and ranging patterns, and social relationships.
The health of the chimpanzee groups reflects the communities’ adherence to the goals that they set for themselves. In addition, our local NGO partner—the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone—visits the villages monthly and maintains open communication with village leaders. LCS is a proud supporter of the Tonkolili Chimpanzee Project.
The Grevy’s zebra has suffered one of the most drastic population declines of any African mammal, due to climate change, habitat loss and competition with livestock. In January of 2018, 2 employees from Lion Country Safari traveled to Kenya to participate in the second Great Grevy’s Rally, a census of the population, which will aid Grevy’s Zebra Trust and their conservation partners to safeguard the future of the Grevy’s zebra. During the Rally, the Lion Country Safari team covered hundreds of kilometers in a hot climate and spotted 13 Grevy’s zebra, photographing their stripe patterns with GPS enabled cameras. These images will later be processed and analyzed by sophisticated software to help determine the current population status of the Grevy’s zebra and will help conservationists determine where to focus their future efforts.
For more information on the Grevy’s Zebra Trust, visit http://grevyszebratrust.org
For more information on the Great Grevy’s Rally http://www.greatgrevysrally.com
Latest research has shown that there are four different giraffe species in Africa. Giraffe in Namibia are the southern giraffe (Giraffa giraffa) and, while both its subspecies occur in Namibia, most giraffe are the Angolan giraffe (Giraffa giraffa angolensis) subspecies. Giraffe are widely spread across Namibia, occurring in national parks and on private and communal land. Giraffe population numbers and distribution in Namibia have increased over the past 30 years due to well-managed conservation efforts.
Based on a recent survey by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) in Namibia, it is estimated that there are approximately 12,000 Angolan giraffe in that region. Lion Country Safari team members joined GCF in northwest Namibia to assist with giraffe surveying in 2019 and again in 2021. Surveying is an important tool for wildlife management because it allows us to observe long term population trends which ultimately help us to understand and protect the species. During the 2019 trip, the team recorded 139 individual giraffe sightings, surveyed 39 herds, and found 7 new calves over the course of 13 days. In 2021, the team recorded 234 individual giraffe sightings, including 12 new giraffe not previously recorded, over the course of 15 days.
The Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA) is the largest association of wildlife centers in Africa. Lion Country Safari regularly donates veterinary supplies and funds to member sanctuaries in order to secure a future for Africa’s primates and their habitat.
In early 2020, Lion Country Safari installed a MOTUS tracking station on grounds. The MOTUS tower helps to track the movement of migratory species across Florida to support research and conservation efforts of birds, bats, and more. Since installation, the MOTUS tower recorded an impressive number of migratory species in the area and has logged a wealth of data to the collaborative research network.