One of the most formidable animals on earth, the African lion has become the most iconic symbol of Africa. It’s ancestors roamed the earth millions of years ago and in the blink of an eye, it’s gone extinct in 26 countries on our watch – and the future is bleak for the king of the savannah.
What if, in a generation from now, absent from the landscape, we realize we didn’t do enough to save lions? What will we tell our grandkids that would justify our unforgiveable failure? Apart from humans, lions have no predators or pressure. We will have no one or nothing to blame but ourselves. We have a responsibility to make sure this iconic species survives.
Why are lions in trouble? As human populations grow and expand their footprint, lions are constantly under pressure from habitat loss and competition for resources. These mighty cats are forced to adapt to life in rural areas, preying on livestock. In retaliation, communities kill lions to protect their livelihoods and future. Lions often caught in barbaric wire snares set up by illegal bush meat poachers, and are poached for superstitious medicinal purposes.
Why Should We Care? What will happen if lions disappear from the landscape? In addition to their intrinsic value and moral considerations, lions have a huge economic value through tourism in developing nations. A robust economy is key to successful conservation efforts. From a biological perspective, lions are top predators in their environment. They play a crucial role in keeping a healthy balance of numbers among other animals, especially herbivores like zebra and wildebeest. If grazers go unchecked, because lions disappear, grasslands will disappear – as will many savannah-dwelling grazers. Without lions, the whole ecosystem will collapse, which will also affect people who rely on local natural resources too.
It’s not all bad news though. Our Community Guardians program supports a wildlife conflict hotline, on call 24/7 to deter wandering wildlife from interacting with rural communities. The Trust also rescues and rehabilitates lions caught in snares or injured at the hand of man. We carry out critical research that assists Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority in making management decisions. All of these efforts inspiring positive outcomes for lions.
How can you help? We’re hoping each one of our friends on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will donate just $5 or more this Giving Tuesday, December 3, 2019 for lion conservation and research. Better yet – start your own Crowdfunding campaign on our behalf. Our goal is to raise $20,000 for lion conservation and research and this modest amount of money will go a long, long way in helping us man the 24/7 Community Guardians hotline, monitoring collared lions for research, purchasing immobilisation drugs and keeping our wildlife rescue team mobile.
Lions are vulnerable now, and the time to act has arrived! Donating this #GivingTuesday2019 will help prevent the extinction of lions in southern Africa; it will make you feel happier and more fulfilled in your life, and; the synergy of #GivingTuesday2019 will help inspire the people around you to do the same. We call this The Grand Slam Of Philanthropy.
Last year, our donors and friends raised $11,000 on Giving Tuesday – valuable funds that were used in our important rhino conservation efforts, including: snare removal, dehorning operations, cataloguing DNA for husbandry needs, and translocations to maintain genetic diversity. It was a huge success, thanks to all who participated, and the funds went a long way to protecting Zimbabwe’s rhinos.
Like rhinos before them, lions are counting on you now! We’re counting on you! Please give this Giving Tuesday.