King of the jungle: lions discovered in rainforests

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
August 13, 2012



Female lion peers through the thick foliage of a montane rainforest in Ethiopia. Photo by: Bruno D'Amicis/NABU.
Female lion peers through the thick foliage of a montane rainforest in Ethiopia. Photo by: Bruno D'Amicis/NABU.

Calling the African lion (Panthera leo) the 'king of the jungle' is usually a misnomer, as the species is almost always found in savannah or dry forests, but recent photos by the Germany-based Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) document lions in Ethiopian rainforests. Taken in the Kafa Biosphere Reserve, the photos show a female lion hiding out in thick montane jungle.

"We are delighted with this news and look forward to studying these exceptional animals in their unusual habitat," said NABU’s Vice-President Thomas Tennhardt in a press release. "To manage potential conflict with local communities, NABU will set up a dedicated conservation fund." NABU has been working in the region since 2006.

Long known to locals, the lions are actually thought not to be permanent residents, but possibly passing through Kafa Biosphere Reserve in the dry season.

Kafa Biosphere Reserve covers 760,000 hectares of montane rainforest and preserves the last place on Earth where wild coffee (Coffea arabica) still grows naturally. The reserve is home to at least 106 woody plants, 100 birds, and 48 mammals.

Although mighty, lions are gravely imperiled: habitat loss, prey depletion, hunting, poisonings, and conflict with humans have decimated Africa's lions. In the last twenty years alone, the lion population is believed to have declined by 30 percent, prompting the species to be listed as Vulnerable on the IUNC Red List.













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CITATION:
Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (August 13, 2012).

King of the jungle: lions discovered in rainforests.

http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0813-hance-lions-ethiopia.html