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Croes B.M.,Leiden University | Funston P.J.,Tshwane University of Technology | Rasmussen G.,Painted Dog Conservation PDC | Rasmussen G.,University of Oxford | And 5 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2011

In West and Central Africa large carnivores have become increasingly rare as a consequence of rapid habitat destruction and lack of resources for protected area management. The Bénoué Complex (23,394km 2) in northern Cameroon is a regionally critical area for large mammal conservation. In the complex lions (Panthera leo), leopards (Panthera pardus) and spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) are formally protected in three national parks and 28 hunting zones. Over-hunting may be having a strong additive effect precipitating declines in large carnivore numbers across the complex. We used a coarse level track index method to estimate the relative abundance of these three species both in hunting zones and national parks. The results were interpreted with respect to ungulate abundance, and hunting impact. There was no significant difference between the densities of medium to larger species of ungulates in the hunting zones and the national parks, and no difference in leopard and spotted hyena densities in the respective areas. However, lions occurred at significantly lower densities in the hunting zones, and even in the national parks occurred at significantly lower densities than prey biomass would predict. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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