Tanzania holds most of the remaining large populations of African lions (Panthera leo) and has extensive areas of leopard habitat (Panthera pardus), and both species are subjected to sizable harvests by sport hunters. As a first step toward establishing sustainable management strategies, we analyzed harvest trends for lions and leopards across Tanzania's 300,000 km(2) of hunting blocks. We summarize lion population trends in protected areas where lion abundance has been directly measured and data on the frequency of lion attacks on humans in high-conflict agricultural areas. We place these findings in context of the rapidly growing human population in rural Tanzania and the concomitant effects of habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, and cultural practices. Lion harvests declined by 50% across Tanzania between 1996 and 2008, and hunting areas with the highest initial harvests suffered the steepest declines. Although each part of the country is subject to some form of anthropogenic impact from local people, the intensity of trophy hunting was the only significant factor in a statistical analysis of lion harvest trends. Although leopard harvests were more stable, regions outside the Selous Game Reserve with the highest initial leopard harvests again showed the steepest declines. Our quantitative analyses suggest that annual hunting quotas be limited to 0.5 lions and 1.0 leopard/1000 km(2) of hunting area, except hunting blocks in the Selous Game Reserve, where harvests should be limited to 1.0 lion and 3.0 leopards/1000 km(2) .
©2010 Society for Conservation Biology.