In southeast Gabon stands the forest-savanna complex of Plateaux Batéké National Park, where leopards, gorillas, forest elephants, and more roam. Until recently, the lion population in Gabon was believed to be locally extinct, obliterated by human pressures.
But in 2015, a male lion was captured on a camera trap in Plateaux Batéké National Park, becoming the last known lion in the country. The discovery of this lion prompted government interest in lion restoration. Panthera and their partners got right to work with this restoration project and prioritized initiating another encounter with Gabon’s last lion in order to obtain hair samples and determine which subpopulation it’s closely related to. Once determined, they plan to reintroduce female lions into the area so this population can begin to grow again.
Watch Panthera trace the origins of Gabon’s last lion below: