Lions, Bylaws, and Conservation Metrics

Monique Borgerhoff Mulder*, Jonathan Lucas Kwiyega, Simone Beccaria, Sylvester Sadock Bwasama, Emily Fitzherbert, Peter Genda, Tim Caro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)


African lions are a significant threat to pastoralists, triggering both retaliatory and nonretaliatory killings that represent a high-profile example of human-wildlife conflict. In the present article, we report on a grassroots campaign to reduce such conflict by shifting agropastoralists' attitudes toward lion killing and the central role of bylaws in its apparent success. Insofar as all of East Africa's principal protected areas still harboring lions are surrounded by pastoralist populations, the vast majority of which persecute lions, this novel strategy is of considerable wide-scale and practical significance. We report on an estimated 59%-69% reduction in the number of lions killed since the implementation of bylaws and use our experiences to highlight the need for fresh dialog among project managers, conservation organizations, and their funders in crafting appropriate conservation success metrics. In the context of human-wildlife conflict, changes in peoples' norms and attitudes are of greater significance over the long term than simplistic tabulations of the number of individuals saved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1008-1018
Number of pages11
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

The acceptance date for this record is provisional and based upon the month of publication for the article.


  • community
  • donors
  • felidae
  • Katavi
  • Tanzania


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