The African Lion – Is Our Greatest Wildlife Icon Vanishing?
Imagine an African Safari without Lions; without this predator the entire structure of the food-chain would be altered, and yet Lions – the universal symbol of wildlife in Africa, are under threat! While the current focus of conservationists world-wide is squarely focused on the plight of the Rhino, which has been poached to the brink of extinction in the wild, there are several other animal species that used to roam the African wilderness in great numbers whose continued existence is threatened. Most people are aware that Elephants, Mountain Gorilla and many bird species are on the list, but since Lions are regularly observed in National Parks and Game Reserves, fewer people are aware of the plight of Lions throughout Africa.
Why are our Lions under threat?
Africa has lost between 80% and 90% of her Lion population since 1975!
Lion Alert, (African Lion and Environmental Research Trust) has identified the following challenges facing Lions in Africa: (Visit their website at www.lionalert.org for more info)
- Loss of habitat and natural prey
- Conflict with humans and livestock
- Unsustainable trophy hunting and dealing in lion parts
- Disease and climate change
- Inbreeding Depression.
ALERT is working with communities and policy makers, conservationists and researchers to come up with a solution to this crisis. Pilot programs have been launched in Zimbabwe and Zambia and other countries will be targeted shortly.
EWASO LIONS, is a Kenyan project striving to protect Kenya’s Lions by promoting peaceful coexistence between the local people and the wildlife that many of them rely on (eco-tourism employs a large proportion of the population).
What can you do to help? Adopt a Lion!
It is up to each and every one of us to do whatever we can to turn the situation around and conserve our precious Lions for future generations. In some instances all you need to do is go on the Safari of a lifetime to do your bit – what a pleasure!! There are many safari operators and private conservancies that donate a percentage of their income to Lion Conservation projects, or you can take it a step further and volunteer your services, for the most rewarding adventure of your life. If you need more inspiration you can check out some of the following websites:
Update on 5 Feb 2015 – We Have Adopted a Lion!!!
We have adopted a lioness called Ena. Ena has an interesting history. She was taken in 2010 from a French circus where she was found in a wooden box under a horse cart. It was in this box that she was imprisoned for most of her life up to that point. Her rescue and relocation were aided by the following organizations and individuals (who also helped with financial aid):
- Foundation Assistance Aux Animaux
- Bridget Bardot Foundation
- Havillam Abrahams from Highmoor Freight
- Elizabeth Elstob
Ena now lives at the Drakenstein Lion Park in the Western Cape province of South Africa, where Paul Hart and other people have created a haven for lions with stories similar to Ena’s. Have a look at www.lionrescue.org.za to see how a you can adopt a lion for as little as $100.