The Lion Management Forum South Africa or ‘LiMF’ was formed in 2010 by a group of conservation managers in South Africa to discuss management issues surrounding free-ranging lion populations in small reserves. These issues range from overpopulation, to disease control, to genetics and more. LiMF members meet regularly to share ideas and discuss possible solutions to lion management challenges. LiMF is committed to a holistic approach that mimics natural systems when developing management strategies and to following scientific principles. In 2013, LiMF members published a peer-reviewed scientific paper outlining the issues surrounding lion management in South Africa and some possible solutions (Research). LiMF continually strives to find and test practical solutions to the challenges faced by managers. LiMF is also assisting in the development of a national metapopulation management plan for lions across South Africa.
In order to formalise our conservation efforts, a Board of Trustees was elected in 2014 and LiMF was registered as a Trust in July 2016 (Trust No: iT000896/2016(D)). LiMF is also registered in South Africa as a non-profit public benefit association (PBO No: 930 056 474) – a charity. This effort has been spearheaded by Brian Courtenay and his team of pro bono helpers.
The members of the Board of Trustees bring a wide range of skills and experiences with regards to managing lions on small reserves. The Board is committed to the Mission and Vision of the Trust – to ensure that lions remain “an important driver of natural systems and of the socio-economy of integrated landscapes, contributing to biodiversity and economic values, thereby improving the livelihoods of people through sustainable development.”
The main activity of LiMF is to provide a platform for members to share ideas and/or problems and discuss possible solutions to managed wild lion management challenges. This is done through regular meetings as well as electronic communications. The outcomes of such discussions are shared with all members and published in peer-reviewed scientific publications when merited. Membership of the LiMF includes protected area managers, owners of managed wild lions, academics, post-graduate students conducting research on managed wild lions, and government and NGO representatives.
While the main activity of the LiMF is to provide a forum for key stakeholders to communicate with and learn from each other, the LiMF is also committed to education in the form of post-graduate research, the promotion of the dissemination of scientific information through the popular media. The research endorsed and driven by the LiMF is also vital for mitigating human-lion conflict in the rural communities of South Africa, thus benefiting such rural communities. Further, through the LiMF’s collaborative approach, it is able to contribute in a meaningful way with the development of government policy and legislation (e.g. the Biodiversity Management Plan for lions and National Norms and Standards) in conjunction with existing predator groups in South Africa.
The Trust seeks to raise funds to support the running costs of LiMF and to support approved research projects (application procedure here) that support the goals of LiMF.