African wild dog and cheetah all but extinct in North Cameroon

The African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) and the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) are “functionally extirpated” in North Cameroon, an international group of researchers said today. Cameroon is a country of central and western Africa.

cheetah photo 5.jpg

Photo courtesy of the University of Leiden

“Other large carnivores such as lion, leopard, striped hyena and spotted hyena, have become rare and survive in small populations,” said researchers from the Institute of Environmental Sciences of Leiden University, in collaboration with the University of Dschang in Cameroon and the Painted Dog Foundation in Zimbabwe, funded by WWF Netherlands and WWF Cameroon in the Bénoué Complex, North Cameroon.

“Three years of surveys covered over 4,100 km of spoor transects and more than 1,200 camera trap days, interviews with local villagers and direct observations,” the University of Leiden said in a news release.

The main reasons for the population crash of both wild dog and cheetah are habitat destruction, poaching by local communities, loss of prey and retaliatory killing by managers of hunting zones, the statement explained.

“Only if wildlife conservation strategies are drastically improved, Lycaon populations may recover into the coming decades. The species is resilient and will profit from improved management regimes and habitat quality,” the university added.

painted dog photo.jpg

Photo courtesy of the University of Leiden

The findings will lead to the development of conservation tools with a focus on maintaining wild dog pack sizes, as well as a conservation strategy containing five major components: continued research, direct conservation, conservation education, capacity building for the future and community development.

“These activities will continue under the umbrella of the Large Carnivore Initiative for West- and Central Africa (LCI) which has recently been founded by a number of organizations and which is financially supported by the Prins Bernhard Natuurfonds,” the university said.

Posted by David Braun

Join Nat Geo News Watch community

Readers are encouraged to comment on this and other posts–and to share similar stories, photos and links–on the Nat Geo News Watch Facebook page. You must sign up to be a member of Facebook and a fan of the blog page to do this. You may also email David Braun (dbraun@ngs.org) if you have a comment that you would like to be considered for adding to this page. 

Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn
  • Tim Upham

    Cameroon desperately needs international attention from non-governement organizations, and international development agencies in regards to conservation. First the western black rhino, now the threat of losing cheetahs and Cape hunting dogs. It shows the inadequate attention given to the western part of the African continent.

About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

Opinions are those of the blogger and/or the blogger’s organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Posters of blogs and comments are required to observe National Geographic’s community rules and other terms of service.

Voices director: David Braun (dbraun@ngs.org)

Social Media