Wildlife Conservation News

Wildlife and our last remaining wild places are being destroyed because of human action or inaction and because of our own short –term greed.

Peter Fearnhead, CEO, African Parks Network, South Africa


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Category: Big Cats Conservation

  1. Good news for forests in Belize from the World Land Trust

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    The World Land Trust has great news for forests!

    On 16 January 2020, the Governement of Belize signed the declaration of North-eastern Biological Corridor of Belize.  It covers an area of nearly 70,000 acres and links the northernmost nature reserve in Belize with more central natural habitats.

    It’s really important, because it’s the first step towards achieving a total North-South corridor crossing the whole country as the map shows!

    Jaguars and other wildlife now have room to roam

    ©World Land Trust

    It’s a tremendous example of public-private partnership:  the government of Belize, local NGOs, private landowners and many international donors – including the World Land Trust – have been involved.


    The corridor connects a system of three protected areas in one system.  Deforestation has caused the loss of over 25,000 acres of forest in tihe last 10 years.

    This will now allow big animals such as jaguar and Baird’s Tapirs enough space to move freely between protected areas and so ensure their long term survival!  It will also help build climate resilience into Belize’s network of protected areas.

    Why was this acquisition necessary?

    In Belize, about 50% of the country is under natural vegetation cover.  About 35% of the country is under some form of protection. 

    So it is still possible to create biological corridors between protected areas.

    It’s vital that these acquisitions take place, and speedily, because agricultural development are increasingly encroaching on forest.

    How did supporters of the World Land Trust
    – people like you & me –
    help in this achievement?

    The World Land Trust mobilised its supporters and inspired new ones to raise funds to support this land acquisition.  It included 2018’s Big Match Fortnight Jungle for Jaguars campaign, and another Buy an Acre opportunity a few months after that.  (The Big Match Fortnight normally comes in October when donations are matched for a specific appeal – it is incredible how much and how speedily this builds up.)

    Donate in memory of someone special
    I donated to this campaign during the Big Match Fortnight (actually in memory of my wonderful Dad as his birthday is in November and I plant a tree or do a buy an acre on his birthday and at Christmas for him, as Dad loved trees). 

    Ask someone to donate as a gift for you
    I asked my husband to also donate as my early Christmas present and it was by far the best present I had.   It really meant something to me.  We had made a difference.

    I cannot tell you the glow and warm feeling I have in my heart when I think of my jaguar roaming the biological corridor.   I call him “my jaguar” – he obviously isn’t, and I’m never going to meet him – but it’s lovely to think that because I donated and my husband has too, we’ve helped him and lots of other animals.

    Please do donate to the World Land Trust if you can, and keep an eye on their website.  I often post news of their new appeals here, so you can watch this space as well.  They are a wonderful charity and it’s good to give a meaningful gift which will last, so if you’re looking for a gift for a wildlife lover, making a donation could be a great way to do something to really make a difference – a win, win, win all round!

    This was the You Tube Video for Jungle for Jaguars – it raised £532,000 in the Big Match Fortnight (normally early October) alone and hit the £600,000 target by Christmas, helping to save 8,154 vital acres.  A further 1,818 acres were saved a few months later.

  2. Tell Vietnam: Stop the Slaughter of Lions

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    Tell Vietnam:  Stop the Slaughter of LionsTAKE ACTION:  SIGN HERE
    ©African Wildlife Foundation

    The African Wildlife Foundation is asking us all to sign their petition, telling Vietnam to stop the slaughter of lions. 

    Poachers are targeting lions.

    To satisfy demand in Vietnam, China and Southeast Asia, lions are being killed for their claws, teeth and bones.

    These animal parts are turned into jewellery, medicine and even wine.

    There was a horrific event last November.  Vietnamese poachers killed 40 lions in 48 hours. 

    CITES say that in the last 5 years, about 150 lion claws and teeth have left South Africa to go to China and Vietnam.  And that’s a number that’s hardly scratching the surface.

    The African Wildlife Foundation has a petition asking Vietnam to enforce wildlife laws to STOP the lion bone trade and renounce the use of lions’ bones in traditional medicine and wine.

    They are after 50,000 signatures and so far have 80% of that number – let’s join them and get the full 100%.



  3. Double your impact for Snow Leopards with a donation by 3rd December 2019

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    Help snow leopards with a donation on 3rd December 2019

    The Snow Leopard Trust have a campaign to raise $100,000 on their Giving Tuesday campaign this year.

    Help snow leopards - double your impact this #GivingTuesday on 3rd December 2019

    The Trust aims “to better understand the endangered snow leopard and to protect the cat in partnership with the communities that share its habitat.”

    What’s more, if we all help to raise $100,000 by Giving Tuesday on 3rd December, that will trigger a $100,000 match!  And that means that $200,000 could be raised to help snow leopards and their conservation.

    At the time of writing, this campaign was 28% of the way there (that’s on 24 Nov 2019 at 20.16 UK time).  We must help snow leopards! 

    You don’t have to wait until 3rd December to donate!  This year, the Snow Leopard Trust are accepting early giving and putting it towards the Global Tuesday campaign.  Every dollar raised between now and 3rd December will be matched by 10 zoo partners.***

    You can double your impact!

    ***Zoo Dresden, Dublin Zoo, Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, Kolmården, Helsinki Zoo, La Passerelle, Fondation le PAL Nature, Niabi Zoo, Nordens Ark, Parco Zoo Punta Verde


  4. 3,100 respond to an appeal for Big Cats

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    Do you ever hear of an appeal and wonder how many people sign up to it?

    Well, National Geographic had a Big Cats Appeal in honour of World Lion Day on 10 August.  They asked people to help protect lions, cheetahs and other Big Cats.  Big Cats are in trouble because of habitat loss, degradation and conflict with humans.

    3,100 people responded to an appeal for Big Cats.

    And they raised an incredible $199,000.   That money will go straight to fund innovative solutions and technology protecting wildlife and wild places.

    Get involved in the Big Cats Initiative - here's how
    National Geographic Society

    National Geographic has identified 20 populations across 18 countries as priority areas for lions.  These populations encompass almost 1.25 million square kilometres – it’s estimated they have 83% of Africa’s known lion population.

    And they help communities too, as they create conservation programmes which help protect wonderful Big Cats and employ local people too. 

    Find out more and support their work here

    Derek and Beverly Joubert are conservationists and film makers who have been working to help save big cats and other key wildlife species and their habitats for over 30 years.    The Jouberts and National Geographic founded the Big Cats Initiative in 2009 to try to halt the decline of big cats in the wild.

    The Big Cats Initiative supports scientists and conservationists who are working to save big cats.   They have built over 1,800 livestock enclosures to protect livestock and so save big cats from retaliatory killings. 

    The Big Cats Initiative takes a three pronged approach to big cat conservation:

    It assesses

    It assesses and maps big cat populations, and it analyses the success of measures put in place to help protect them – this knowledge helps guide the protection efforts the Big Cats Initiative chooses to fund.

    It protects

    The initiative supports protects designed and implemented by people living in areas where they are big cats, creating ways in which local communities and big cats can co-exist

    It communicates

    With Nat Geo WILD, the Big Cats Initiative spreads the word about the big cat decline, thus encouraging the public to find out more through free education initiatives and programming on Nat Geo WILD.

    Find out more about the Big Cats Initiative here

    3 ways to help and get involved:

    1. Donate
    2. Spread the word
    3. Sign up for the newsletter so that you can get updates from the field



  5. On World Lion Day, good news for Lions from African Parks

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    100 years ago, 200,000 lions lived across the African continent.

    Today, we are in the sorry position where less than 20,000 remain.  They have been extirpated form 26 countries, owing to habitat loss, conflict with people and poaching.

    But conservation organisation African Parks have good news.

    They have been able to make important headway in restoring and safeguarding African lions, thanks to their supporters and government partners.

    Effective park management, law enforcement, species-specific interventions including reintroduction and translations, and investing in education and local communities have enabled African Parks to create safe havens for lions and other wildlife. They have been able to breed and raise their young.  In short, they have the conditions they need to survive and thrive.

    Lions in Rwanda

    Back in 2015, 7 lions were introduced back to the Akagera National Park
    in Rwanda after they had been hunted out in the 1990s.  And they were welcomed there, with children and community members lining the streets.  In 4 years, the pride has tripled.  Poaching has practically been eliminated, wildlife is thriving and over 44,000 visitors are coming every year.   Half of these are Rwandan nationals, so Akagera is 80% self-financing as a result. The youngsters value the lions, and the lions themselves are helping to build a conservation-led economy.

    Lions in Benin

    In Benin, in the Pendjari National Park, they are protecting 100 of the 400 remaining critically endangered West African Lions.   Thanks to the support from the Lion Recovery Fund, they have collard 10 individuals so that their tracking teams could monitor the lions and better protect them. 

    In 2003 when African Parks took on the management of Liuwa Plain.  At that time there was only one lioness, known as Lady Liuwa.  Illegal hunting had killed off all the other lions.  Together with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, African Parks undertook a series of translocations to help restore her pride.   Lady Liuwa sadly died in 2017, but her legacy exists in a small but growing pride of lions.

    Lions in Malawi

    Meantime in the Majete, Malawi, working with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), African Parks reintroduced lions in 2012 after they had been hunted out in the 1990’s. Rhinos, elephants and 2,900 other animals were also reintroduced.  Thus the reserve was the first Big Five destination in Malawi. Today, thanks to law enforcement efforts and community work, the reserve is flourishing and helping to repopulate other reserves in the country.

    In 2018, together with the People's Postcode Lottery, the Dutch Government, the Lion Recovery Fund and the DNPW, African Parks reintroduced nine lions (seven from South Africa and two from Majete) to Liwonde National Park, also in Malawi.  Lions had been absent there for at least 20 years. 

    This just shows how political action, donor support and local community collaboration can lead to the return of Africa’s lions – and the lions themselves can create a host of other benefits to everyone, on a local and regional basis.