Spatio-temporal niche partitioning between the African lion (Panthera leo leo) and spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) in western African savannas

  • Etotépé A. SogbohossouEmail author
  • Barthélémy D. Kassa
  • Matthias Waltert
  • Igor Khorozyan
Original Article


Large predators in West Africa are threatened with extinction mainly by direct and indirect effects of human activities. Within this context, intraguild competition can limit populations of some species and even play a role in extinction. In this study, we used camera trapping to assess the spatial and temporal patterns of niche partitioning between the African lion Panthera leo leo and the spotted hyena Crocuta crocuta in Pendjari Biosphere Reserve, Benin. We found that these predators are more nocturnal in the hunting zone than in the national park of the biosphere reserve. The temporal overlap between lion and hyena was high in the national park (Pianka overlap index 0.88) and low in the hunting zones (0.39). The spatial overlap was low (0.40 in the national park and 0.38 in the hunting zones). The two predators were distributed independently in the national park, but showed significant positive association (co-occurrence) in the hunting zones. We suggest that anthropogenic activities leading to depletion of predators and their prey limit lion and hyena distribution in the hunting zones to some safety areas which are strongly selected by both predators. We recommend to significantly improve conservation efforts in the hunting zones of Pendjari Biosphere Reserve and to expand research of lion-hyena intraguild relationships to improve predator survival in West Africa.


Apex predators Coexistence Activity patterns Anthropogenic impacts Conservation Benin 



We would like to thank the Wildlife Office (CENAGREF) for the permission to conduct this research and the park staff for assistance in research. We are also grateful to Janvier Aglissi and Fabrice Gomido for their contribution to data collection and to Marc Filla for his help with statistical analysis. We are grateful to an anonymous reviewer for comments on the manuscript.

Funding information

EAS received grants from Panthera Friedman Cheetah Conservation, TWAS/DFG, and IDEAWILD

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Etotépé A. Sogbohossou
    • 1
    Email author
  • Barthélémy D. Kassa
    • 1
  • Matthias Waltert
    • 2
  • Igor Khorozyan
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of Applied EcologyUniversity of Abomey-CalaviCotonouBenin
  2. 2.Georg-August-Universität GöttingenGöttingenGermany

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