Lions are one of the most sought-after safari sightings. The thrill of seeing them in the wild is indescribable, I imagine this is because it triggers such a primal reaction in each of us! There is no feeling in the world quite like it.
Today is World Lion Day, the perfect time to raise the issue of the plight faced by this magnificent species of animal.
The lion plays a significant role biologically, culturally, symbolically, economically and more. It is hoped that the recognition of the species’ worldwide importance will result in more active conservation worldwide also.
The number of lions in the wild is steadily decreasing. In just 50 years the African lion population has decreased by 50%, down from 250,000 to now just 25,000 to 30,000 individuals. A truly devastating statistic! One of the main causes is habitat loss. Lions are being forced into closer quarters with humans and this, coupled with a decrease in their natural prey, causes lions to attack livestock. In turn farmers may often retaliate and kill lions.
So, what can we do to help?
There are of course numerous ways in which we can support the conservation efforts in Africa but one of the most effective, personal (and definitely more fun) ways is to support the eco-tourism industry.
Travel to Africa!
Eco-tourism creates revenue for:
- Local economies
- Local jobs in local communities
- Anti poaching
- Safeguarding lion's habitat
- Providing veterinary assistance for the wildlife
All of this means that slowly we move towards a world where humans and lions can live in harmony!
We have very carefully handpicked four itineraries that are dedicated to conservation so that you can have a unique travel experience, safe in the knowledge that your trip is supporting crucial conservation programs.
Track Lions in South Africa
Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, South Africa
This moment was captured by photographer and ranger, Terry Ennever - in Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, in South Africa. Here, drives in an open safari vehicle are conducted in the early morning and late afternoon every day in search of wildlife.
Experienced and knowledgeable rangers are paired with local trackers (seen sitting on the front of the vehicle here), and together they ensure a first-class safari experience. Trackers sit up at the front of the vehicle looking for fresh animal tracks, while rangers navigate into ravines and through thickets in pursuit of fantastic game sightings.
These kinds of close encounters are guaranteed, and the animals are not threatened by your presence thanks to the sound conservation management policies on the reserve.
Expect one-of-a-kind photographic opportunities of these wonderful creatures in Sabi Sabi.
Learn from the Lion Experts in Kenya
On our own Endangered Species safari, in Kenya you will have the rare opportunity to speak to the experts first hand - those at the forefront of conservation in Kenya. This unique flying safari takes you to the unique corners of Kenya to capture the sights of endangered wild African animals whose existence is not only threatened but in many cases endangered according to the venerable IUCN Red List of threatened species – www.iucnredlist.org - Lion and Cheetah in the world famous Masai Mara, African Elephant in Samburu, Wild Dog (also known as painted Dogs), Grevy’s Zebra, Crowned Cranes, the Black Rhino and the critically endangered Northern White Rhino in Laikipia.
Whilst you are spending time in the Masai Mara your specialist experts and guides are on hand exclusively, to educate and enlighten you on the current activities and conservation efforts being implemented to protect these animals.
See Lions on Foot in Zambia
The focus of your safari in the South Luangwa will be on walking with some of Africa’s finest walking guides from Norman Carr Safaris. Discover more about nature and its fauna, flora and many inhabitants that are often missed whilst in a vehicle. Here you will find a truly special and remarkable place in an area of pristine wilderness with few roads, solitude and seclusion, with the thrill of perhaps seeing a lion on foot!
Norman Carr was instrumental in wildlife conservation and eco-tourism in the South Luangwa National Park in the eastern part of Zambia, and is actually known as a pioneer of walking safaris in this part of the world too.
For 8 years, back in the 1950's Norman Carr resided at Ngoma camp with two lions, which he had tamed. He named them Little Boy and Big Boy.
See Lions in Action in Botswana
Duba Plains, Okavango Delta Botswana
It would be remiss not to mention husband and wife duo - Dereck and Beverly Joubert. The Jouberts have spent the past three decades captivating audiences with their rare footage and photographs of big cats, like the one above. They also set up The Great Plains Foundation a charity set up to protect the great plains of Africa and its wildlife - namely lions, elephants and rhinos. They also co-founded Great Plains Conservation, a collection of luxury eco-friendly lodges at the forefront of conservation in Africa.
Duba Plains Camp is as remote as it is legendary. Great Plains Conservation founders, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, call this their home because it is the very essence of wild, untrammelled Africa at its most exciting. The camp, designed by Dereck himself, is a testament to tasteful and sophisticated luxury. Here you have the chance to watch the epic and ceaseless battle between the lions and buffalo of the Duba Plains that makes this an essential destination for the discerning naturalist and safari enthusiast.
One of the very best things that we can all do to protect lions from extinction is to take part and contribute to eco-tourism in Africa. Tourism creates jobs, encouraging local communities to get on board with the conservation efforts in the area. It is essential for the surrounding communities to feel heard, for them to feel involved and for them to benefit from the presence of the wildlife, so that instead of seeing the wildlife as a threat to their homes, farms and livelihoods they can start to see them as a blessing instead.
We look forward to a day where humans and lions learn to live side by side, in harmony.
Other ways that you can help this World Lion Day include:
- Hold your own event and create awareness and / or raise funds for an organisation of your choosing. Many dedicated organisations can be found here and you can download our ‘How To Fundraise’ guide for inspiration.
- Create awareness via social and share your support for lions on the World Lion Day Facebook and Twitter.
- Donate to many of the dedicated organisations working to save the lion.
Thank you all in advance!