Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Africa Needs Lions!

Today’s posting is a little bit different from our usual postings.  Instead of covering a story at In-Sync Exotics, we thought it was time to post a conservation article on the plight of the wild lion. 
Did you know 50 years ago, the wild lion population in Africa was over 200,000?  Guess what the lion population is estimated to be at today—50,000?  40,000?  Try about 20,000 or so!
The Making of A Leader!
There are several reasons why lion population is on the decline—growing human population in Africa requires land for farming—sadly displacing wildlife; many lions are infected with Feline Immundodefiency Virus (FIV) impacting their ability to survive and reproduce; inbreeding resulting in the loss of genetic variation; and male lions are major trophies for hunters. 
So why should we care whether or not wild lions survive in Africa?  After all, there are a lot of lions living in the United States today, either as private pets, zoo exhibits, or living out their lives in wild animal sanctuaries, right?  Why should we care what happens to animals living thousands of miles away?
Lions are a culturally iconic species—when you think of Africa—you think of lions!  No other species on the planet is represented in so many symbols, statues, representations, works of art, or described in literature as the lion.  Chances are you have a picture, poster, books, art works, bookends, or statues depicting the fierce independence of a lion. 
New Territory!
In Africa, lions are the top predator in its ecosystems—when the lions disappear, so do the delicate balance of the ecosystem.  To be honest, if we lose the African lion, future generations will look back and declare our generation a failure for not saving these majestic cats.  If conservation efforts are unsuccessful and the population continues to decline, 20-40 years from now all wild African lion populations will probably be gone.   
As mentioned above, we saw within the last 50 years the disappearance of over 180,000 lions—many now serving as trophies on someone’s wall or floor or found grounded into powder to be used as an aphrodisiacs.  Dare we turn our backs on these majestic animals? NO, we say! That’s where the wild lion conservation programs come in to stay as they try to save the remaining 20,000 African lions. 
There are a lot of conservationists living in Africa right now, trying to save as many lions as they can.  In order to save the cats, these hard working individuals have to convince tribes, business people, and political leaders that it is in the best interest of the country to protect the big cats.   There has to be a “buy-in” by the locals, else the attempts to save the species will fail.  Conservationists must work with the farmers and hunters, helping them implement conservation and management plans by fostering African solutions to saving the African lion.  Not an easy task to be sure. 
Lions on the move!
Local communities that may come in contact with lions must recognize the symbiotic relationship between the predator and the delicate ecosystem on which it relies and not automatically hunt down and kill the animal without provocation. 
Politicians must establish protected land for the animals, ensuring trophy hunters are kept out of the natural reserves.  Often times, land that was once set aside for the animals was converted for other human consumption use, lost its protection status because there were not enough law enforcement to protect the animals, or abandoned by wildlife authorities due to civil strife or lack of funding.   
As consumers, we must recognize that if we continue go on hunting safaris or buy fur, teeth, or bones of these majestic animals, then we are contributing to the demise of this species.  

As you can see, this is not a "local" problem--it's a global challenge!  
If you want to learn more about lion conservation, we have found a website that: 
  • Shows the current African lion population, country-by-country: Click HERE 
  • Lists their lion conservation projects:  Click HERE  
  • And shows great pictures, videos and updates of the lions they are tracking (as you can see above)   
  • Dambwa release pride: Click HERE 
  • Ngamo release pride:  Click HERE  
By providing our readers with the links to African Lion & Environmental Research Trust's website, we are by no means endorsing this organization.  We were simply impressed by the the vast amount of research information, pictures, and videos that we thought our readers might find interesting.  If you have a great lion conservation group you'd like to share with our readers, please complete the comment box below and share the information with us all! 
Please take a moment and check out what is happening to our lions’ wild cousins as they struggle to stay alive in the wild
We hope you enjoyed today's blog posting and will join us again tomorrow for more news and updates on our wild ones! Don't forget to let us know your reaction to this posting by clicking on one of the reaction buttons below--and share this blog posting with others please ~ Thank you!


  1. Replies
    1. Leo? The Lion? End of July, first three weeks of August?


      I am a sad Leo. :(