Assessment of functionality of two captive-origin and a wild pride of African lions (Panthera leo): pre-release evaluation for an ex-situ reintroduction program

Emma Dunston

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

199 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

social interactions revealed that intra-pride behaviour deviates at an age level occur. Territories of all prides were mapped, where placement of core areas reflected resource requirements and use. A sex bias was observed in territorial behaviour, while the captive-origin prides exhibited natural behaviours necessary for territorial defence, indicating that these prides possess behaviours necessary to establish and defend a territory. Despite limited prey being available to the captive-origin prides, both exhibited species appropriate hunting behaviour, indicating that these prides possess behaviours necessary to be self-sustainable in terms of hunting. There was indication that some of the variations found between captive-origin and wild prides' linked to environmental variations between prides, specifically differences in reserve size, vegetation types and season. The application of additional, longitudinal studies and comparisons between prides are required to confirm the observations of this study. This study provided in-depth analysis of various aspects of captive-origin lion behaviour. Importantly, it found that the captive history of adults within prides was not found to impact their ability to form a cohesive, behaviourally functional pride. Subsequently, offspring of these prides have been raised within a natural setting which has allowed the development of species appropriate behaviours that are critical for post-release survival. This information is essential to the pre-release monitoring of prides under ex-situ reintroduction and provides all indications that captive-origin prides appear behaviourally equipped for wild survival. Therefore this ex-situ reintroduction program may prove vital to lion conservation, supplementing in-situ conservation efforts.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Freire, Raf, Co-Supervisor
  • Doyle, Rebecca, Co-Supervisor, External person
  • Abell, Jackie, Co-Supervisor, External person
Award date25 Jul 2016
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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