Namibia Lion Trust is working to protect the large carnivores of Namibia. It believes in conservation through education, aiming to create a peaceful existence between wildlife (especially the large carnivores) and local communities
The Namibia Lion Trust has been through a bit of a journey itself. It was launched in 2020, having been AfriCatNorth. AfriCat North was primarily the AfriCat Foundation field base for lion research, human-wildlife conflict mitigation and community support. The Trust’s slogan is For Lions, For Life and For Our Future, and it’s dedicated to lions. It’s Reg #T298/2019.
Livestock Protection – creating “bomas”, i.e. enclosures to keep large predators out and livestock safe inside
Early Warning and Rapid Response – Lion Guards elected by their own community to help mitigate the lion-human conflict. They identify hot spots, support with the erectionof bomas, install LionLights, patrol to protect wildlife and encourage greater tolerance of conflict with wildlife. They also share information about the whereabouts of wildlife with the research team conservancy committees and their communities.
Fence Boundary Programme in a human-wildlife conflict hot-spot area. It’s cattle proof but has fallen into disrepair – it was put up in the 1960s and needs to be reconstructed.
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.
Saving the critically endangered Ethiopian lion – this is a new sub-species and it’s been identified from lions currently at the Addis Ababa zoo. There are about 200 or fewer wild lions still roaming round Ethiopia – they could be even more endangered than Western African lions and the Indian lion
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World Lions’ Day is ROARING towards us (it’s on 10th August 2020) and in doing some research for this website to put up something about it, I have as always found myself getting very immersed in some of the fantastic work that charities are doing.
One of the amazing programmes I found out about today was about a very special dog called Kura and Kura’s Pride.
Kura lives with the team working with the charity Ewaso Lions, who promote wildlife-human co-existence. They believe "the long-term survival of lions and other carnivores depends on finding ways people can coexist with them".
Kura turned up in the charity’s camp on the day of the Kenyan National Elections back in 2013. He was lost and lame and looking for somewhere safe to stay. And 7 years on, he is still with the camp!
And now Kura is heading the Kura Pride initiative, which is working to improve domestic dog welfare in Northern Kenya.
During the period October 2019 and June 2020, Kura’s Pride and partners managed to vaccinate over 2,600 animals against rabies and distemper. These two disease harm people and wildlife so it’s a wonderful thing to get the jabs done.
This video tells you more about it. I was struck by how happy everyone looks, dogs and people.
Kura is the Director of Emotional Stability for the charity Ewaso Lions. As such, he warns everyone of poisonous snakes and leopards nearby, and of course he loudly announces any visitor to camp.
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.
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.
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.
While the human race is battling against the coronavirus with 213 countries affected, wildlife are far from immune from it either.
Elephants, rhinos, pangolins and gorillas all needed wildlife rangers to protect them. Wildlife conservation groups are faced with the challenge of continuing to protect wildlife and fight poaching whilst budgets are cut and the income wildlife tourism brings to help is virtually non-existent as there are no tourists.
Enter Avaaz, a 60 million person global campaign network, with petitions to change the world and appeals to make a difference to those who need it.
An army of 40,000 rangers once protected elephants, rhinos, pangolins and gorillas – and these are in danger of losing their jobs, leaving wildlife at the mercy of poachers and criminal gangs and syndicates.
A team of undercover investigators are working round the clock to rack and prosecute poaching rings in 9 African countries and they are jailing thousands.
Their funding is on the rocks. Wildlife need us to give them our support, however much that is.
This is a chance to help vulnerable wildlife. We can help lock up more criminals, expose international trafficking networks and accelerate global campaigns to protect nature and save vulnerable species.
Please donate what you can now. If we all donated the cost of a coffee, that would make a big difference.
Avaaz has funded these defenders before from the group EAGLE. Recently they infiltrated a big illegal trafficking ring. They uncovered nearly 2 tons of pangolin scales, exposing the kingpins and crippling an international network of criminals. Crucially, they ensure those who are jailed don’t bribe their way out.