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Controlled burning to rack up carbon credits seen as tool to protect African lion populations

In 2012 a villager walking through the forest in Mozambique’s Niassa Reserve came across a young male lion caught in a poacher’s snare. The lion lay on the ground, a noose of thick wire squeezing its lower torso. Conservation workers later freed the animal, but most lions are not so lucky. “Poaching has been a major issue over the years,” says Natasha Ribeiro, who has studied illegal hunting in Niassa Reserve and is a forest ecologist at Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique.

She and other experts fear that bushmeat snaring and other threats to lions—including habitat loss and retaliatory killings after the big cats prey on livestock—will only get worse as the human population in Mozambique and many other African countries continues to grow rapidly in the next few decades.

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