The Spotlight animal for the Fall Issue 2014 is the African Lion. According to Panthera, a non-profit dedicating to Big Cat conservation, "Lions have vanished from over 80 percent of their historic range and currently exist in 28 countries in Africa and one country in Asia (India). They are extinct in 26 countries. Only 7 countries: Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe are believed to each contain more than 1,000 lions. Lions are currently listed as 'Vulnerable' on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species; and in West and Central Africa, the species is now classified as 'Endangered.'”
I have compiled a list of web links that will direct you to articles and videos along with websites of organizations that support Lion conservation. I hope the information provided below is helpful, and thought provoking, but most importantly I hope it moves you to action.
African Lion: Please click here to read a brief overview of their social structure, diet and some quick facts.
Understanding the lives of lions (video): Craig Packer, Director of the Serengeti Lion Project since 1978, gives us a researcher's perspective into the life of the King of the Jungle!
A species under threat: This article gives the reader a comprehensive understanding of the threats the lions face in the wild. It also provides statistics important in understanding the distribution of lion population, its International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) status, and the countries the lion is currently found it. Please click here to read the full article.
2. National Geographic
National geographic has launched a campaign – ‘Big Cat Initiative’: which aims to save all of the big cats. Please click here to learn more about their approach, projects and how to get involved.
Lions approach extinction in West Africa: This article highlights the eminent threat to the West African lions. They are thought to be a unique subspecies with a distinct genetic sequence. “West African lions have unique genetic sequences not found in any other lions, including in zoos or captivity,” explained Dr. Christine Breitenmoser, the co-chair of the IUCN/SCC Cat Specialist Group, which determines the conservation status of wild cats around the world. “If we lose the lion in West Africa, we will lose a unique, locally adapted population found no-where else. It makes their conservation even more urgent.”Click here to read the full article.
Lion numbers plunge as African wilderness succumbs to human pressure: This article explores cause, prognosis and other questions pertaining to lion population decline. Click here to read the full article.
1. National Geographic
Twenty-four fascinating videos on the Serengeti lions: Start by clicking ‘Explore’ and then click on “Look” or “Listen” to watch each video. Once the video starts playing, find options like - index, caption, and commentary by moving your cursor to the bottom of the page. Some videos have additional pictures you can view, so look for the scroll option with the up and down arrow. The following are my favorite in this grouping - Coalition, Awakening and Golden Day (the light is beautiful in Golden Day!)
Rescuing White Lion: The natural habitat for the White Lions is the Timbavati region which is the northeastern region in South Africa. The White Lions are no longer found in their natural habitat but are now only found in zoos and parks. The people of Shangaan tribe consider the White Lion sacred and an integral part of their cultural heritage and hope to see the White Lion return to its natural habitat in the TImbavati region.
Big Cat Initiative: Cause an uproar: Click on 'Big Cat Initiative'. Once you are on the National Geographic webpage please scroll down to the very bottom of the page to see the video - National Geographic- BIG CAT INITATIVE.
2. Lion Whisperer:
Kevin Richardson is a conservationist with a rare talent to foster relationships with lions and hyenas. His ability to understand these magnificent animals at a primal level comes from years of working with them. Follow the link to his website or video of him interacting with lions and hyenas. You can also read his book: ‘Part of the Pride’ or watch the Movie: ‘White lion’
Please find below a list of organizations involved in lion conservation. I have learned a lot by visiting these websites - everything from the challenges these organizations face to the triumphs they celebrate. These organizations are working tirelessly towards their goals. There are many ways you can support them, but the quickest with immediate impact would be your monetary contributions so they can continue to further their cause. In other words, they have ‘boots on the ground’, but theyneed our help. Time is of the essence; we can’t be complacent. Please send your contributions directly to an organization of your choice. Please take a few moments to visit all of them.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of everything on lions out there. There is a ton of information that one can find on the Internet. This is just a conversation starter, a bridge between you and information, so you can get started.
On Oct 27th, 2014 the US Fish and Wildlife Services proposed to list the African Lion as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). It is also proposing a rule which if passed will require permits to import Trophy’s (Sport hunting). Please visit US Fish and Wild Life Services to read more.
TED Talk (Short Video)
A remarkable story of human ingenuity and will, Richard Turere , is a thirteen year old boy from the Maasai tribe in Kenya. His innovative idea of keeping the lions at bay and his cattle safe has allowed him and his community to coexist with the lions. Richard presented his invention at the TED Talk. Please click here to learn about his invention and watch this conservation success story.
“The lion is known as one of Africa's most iconic animals. Few people realize, however, that lions are currently listed as "Vulnerable” by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and in West and Central Africa, the species is now classified as “Endangered…”
“West African lions have unique genetic sequences not found in any other lions, including in zoos or captivity,” explained Dr. Christine Breitenmoser, the co-chair of the IUCN/SCC Cat Specialist Group, which determines the conservation status of wild cats around the world. “If we lose the lion in West Africa, we will lose a unique, locally adapted population found no- where else. It makes their conservation even more urgent.”
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