Singou Faunal Reserve
Singou, Burkina Faso
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The Arly-Singou ecosystem is a protected area complex located in Burkina Faso, and is considered to comprise part of the most significant and important savanna woodland wildlife areas still existing in that region of the African continent. The ecosystem shelters what is considered to be the largest population of lions (Panthera leo) still remaining in West Africa, with estimates varying substantially between 100 and 400 (approx.) individual members of the species existing within the area. These estimates were based on two surveys which were undertaken; while the African Lion Working Group (Bauer and Van Der Merwe 2004) approximate that there are 100 lions in the area, Chardonnet (2002) claims that there are a far more lions in the area, with an estimate of 404.[I] These numbers of lions represent a great deal of the total population of lions in West Africa; there have been estimates of somewhere between 850 and 1,160 remaining lions in all of Western Africa, and the population existing in Arly-Singou therefore plays host to a large amount of this total population, regardless of the veracity of these surveys.
The Arly-Singou project is considered to have taken a somewhat new initiative in structure, in regard to wildlife management undertakings funded by the government in the area. However, the project also permits private operators to share and hold authority of the area's management, in a bid to take advantage of the benefits of greater external funds, from these operators.
While lions constitute much of the animal population living in the Arly-Singou area, 1980 aerial observations revealed that the largest population of antelopes in the entire region were inhabiting the protected ecosystem, and more recent studies (Belemsobgo and Chardonnet 1996) indicate that this flourish in antelope population has been sustained in the Arly-Singou since the initial observations.
Previously the endangered Painted Hunting Dog, Lycaon pictus occurred in Burkina Faso within the Arly-Singou ecosystem, but, although last sightings were made in Arly, the species is considered extirpated throughout Burkina Faso.
I^ The same surveys noted that a great majority (95%) of their West African individual lion population estimates were highly inaccurate, and were not of scientific quality, and that the remaining 5% of the research was less than reliable.
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