Why are we campaigning for lions?


In 2015 the body which oversees worldwide efforts to protect our natural heritage, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced that African lion populations have decreased 42% in the last 21 years. It’s a desperately sad statistic, but it’s not one in the wildlife world that stands alone. According to experts and researchers across all 6 continents we need an urgent, global conservation response or we risk the imminent loss of some of earth’s last megafauna – among others our tigers, gorillas, rhinos and lions. Business as usual now equals mass extinction.

It’s an emotive subject. The lion is one of the world’s most iconic species - the ‘King of the animal kingdom’ – and extinction in our lifetime sounds preposterous. Yet the threat is real and it moves something inside us to want to help. So volunteering, giving our time to a project breeding lions in the name of conservation can only be a good thing? Surely?

Well, unfortunately, no. Sadly thousands of cubs bred at captive facilities across South Africa, hand-reared by well-meaning volunteers are, when fully grown and habituated to humans ‘released’ into private reserves to be easy pickings for paying hunters. It’s a commercially lucrative and growing cycle of exploitation of people and animals with no value to the long term preservation of a vulnerable species.

It’s why, on the eve of World Lion Day, we are unveiling our support of Blood Lions – a powerful film and campaign calling on tourists and would-be volunteers to use their collective voice to put a stop to the canned hunting, predator breeding and cub petting industries. We urge you to do the same.

Photo credits: [karelnoppe]
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