Subsidient: Amy Montanje/Leiden University
Subsidy: S19.1-63

In the last decades the African lion population has decreased with 43%. Local problems can enhance this decline. In Lake Nakuru National Park (LNNP) lions are also decreasing in numbers. The large African buffalo population can potentially be one of the causes. Buffaloes are known to wound and kill lions during the hunt. With the use of dietary analyses (hair morphology and eDNA analysis) I studied whether the lions in LNNP avoid buffaloes as a prey because of the large population. I investigated whether there is a difference in the diet between the lions from LNNP and Soysambu Conservancy (SC), where the buffalo population is much lower. Diet analysis gives insights in whether the pressure of buffaloes result in a change in diet and whether lions eat more unusual prey such as birds, reptiles and small mammals. This study confirmed a decline in the lion population from 20 to 9 individuals in two years’ time. The diet between the parks differ significantly, only the lions from LNNP showed an avoidance for buffaloes, consumed more birds, reptiles and prey under 100kg. This can be detrimental for the lions as they consume less energy. Multiple observed buffalo attacks, changes in the diet, distribution out of the park and an avoidance of the buffalo show that future management should be focused on the decline of the buffalo population to counter the decline of the lion population in LNNP.