The 10th August is #WorldLionDay. For all their courage, strength, power and majestic look, lions are in trouble; their numbers have plummeted from 200,000 in the 1950s to what could be as few as 15,000 but why?
LionAid is an international organisation specifically dedicated to lion conservation. It says there are 5 reasons why lion numbers have plumeted.
Lion habitat is becoming farmland – so there is a lot of human/livestock conflict and also retaliation killings. As Africa’s human population has shot up, so wildlife have had to give their habitat up to humans. There's less prey about for lions to eat – so they have to turn to livestock.
Lions are susceptible to disease including canine distemper and bovine TB, plus FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) – in some populations this goes up to 90%. This is why programmes such as Kura’s Pride, is so important.
Trophy Hunting – it really saddens me that there are people who love to kill wildlife for sport, especially given the decline in lion numbers and the endangered status of species such as the Western African lions. Trophies are largely male lions – which makes it even harder for lions to reproduce. Take a look at BanTrophyHunting #BanTrophyHunting to see how you can help.
Lion breeding – South Africa has a very controversial programme to breed lions in captivity to produce a range of lion products. Of course, the supply of lion bones to Asia generates extra demand, so there are, say LionAid, verified reports of lion bones from both poached and trophy hunted animals) being sent to Asia from other lion range states too.
Actions LionAid are working towards:
To make a difference, get involved – you’ll be helping to save lives.
It’s easy to think, how can I help when I’m miles from lions in the wild but believe me, there are plenty of ways to help: