Studies Claim New Breakthrough In Estimating Lion Age

With support from the Safari Club International Foundation, scientists have created a new method to estimate the age of lions within 6 months by examining their teeth.

Studies Claim New Breakthrough In Estimating Lion Age

Researchers with the Zambia Lion Project recently released two scientific publications outlining an innovative method using teeth for estimating lion age within 6 months.

“Accurate age estimation of African lions is urgently needed to address conservation issues,” says Joseph Hosmer, President of the Safari Club International Foundation. “This ground-breaking research will improve the management of lions and promote sustainable hunting.”

The possibilities of new knowledge from this method will assist national and international wildlife authorities in evaluating hunter compliance with regulatory measures involving age.

“Hunting of African lions is important to the species’ conservation in many countries,” Dr. Paula White, Principal Investigator with the Zambia Lion Project said. She added “estimating lion age is essential to many aspects of management programs including harvest and problem animal control.”

In collaboration with Dr. Roberto Cameriere, inventor of the dental X-ray aging technique, this pioneering study is the first to apply quantified tooth measures to age African lions.

The project has already provided recommendations to Zambia’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) on the country’s newly established age-based lion hunting program. The ability to accurately age post mortem lions will facilitate best hunting practices across lion range in Africa.

“SCI Foundation has been instrumental in supporting the Zambia Lion Project’s research. These two publications demonstrate the commitment of SCI Foundation to gathering scientific information that can be used to better wildlife management and promote sustainable utilization,” Dr. White said.

The scientific publications are available to the public in the journals PLOS One and Wildlife Biology.


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