Saving The Planet's Most Famous Animal

Megan Seltzer

10 Aug 2022

Arguably the most famous animal on the planet and the true icon of Africa’s 'Big Five', the lion is the symbol of strength and power and the epitome of any safari. Today, catching sight of this apex predator is one of the most sought-after prizes for almost every safari-goer. 

World Lion Day is celebrated annually on August 10 to raise awareness about lions and to mobilise support for their protection and conservation. A protagonist of serious decline, the future is beginning to look bright once again as conservation efforts, such as the Lionscape Coalition, focus on restoring habitats and eradicating the illegal wildlife trade.

African Lion Grid

Why is it celebrated?

Since 2013, World Lion Day has been celebrated globally on August 10 as a day to commemorate the 'king of the jungle' and raise awareness about the need for conservation. 

World Lion Day was co-founded by Dereck and Beverly Joubert of the Big Cat Initiative and National Geographic. Also known as the National Geographic Big Cats Initiative, the partnership aims to protect these wild cats in their natural habitat. The initiative works on safety measures with communities that live near wild cats so that commmunities can co-exist in peace with these animals. World Lion Day operates to serve a greater purpose than to merely commemorate the existence of the king of cats.

Stevewinter Photo 01 5

what are the goals?

We celebrate World Lion Day in order to fulfill three major objectives:

– To raise awareness about the plight of the lion & other issues that the species faces in the wild

– To find ways to protect its natural habitat and for creating more such habitats like national parks

– To educate people who live near wild cats on the dangers and how to protect themselves. Humans and large species like cats can live in harmony together, but only if they understand how to do so.

Uganda Ishasha Wilderness Camp Wild Frontiers Lions (1)

lionscape coalition

In just 25 years, Africa’s lion population dramatically dropped with only 50% of their numbers remaining across the iconic landscapes of the continent. The IUCN classified these majestic creatures as “vulnerable” as a result, a subject of habitat loss and fragmentation, illegal wildlife trade, poaching and human-lion conflict.

It was as a result of this revelation that the Lionscape Coalition was formed, in response to the growing threat of extinction and the predictable knock-on effect this would have on Africa’s biodiversity. Lions are classed as an “umbrella species”; with a wild lion population thriving, the entire surrounding eco-system functions effectively, ultimately also affecting the livelihoods of those relying on ecotourism for survival. The Lionscape Coalition sees four commercial competitors, who share the bold vision of the Lion Recovery Fund (LRF) to double wild lion numbers by 2050, collaborate on lion conservation programmes across Africa. Putting all commercial considerations aside, this alliance brings to this initiative over 100 years of positive conservation and community impact throughout Africa.

Lions are a resilient species so the future looks bright. These animals will rapidly reproduce if their habitats are protected if communities have incentives to co-exist and protect them. Creating healthy ‘lionscapes’ which can benefit these local communities is key to the success of population decline being reversed and many other species will recover in the process.

Tanzania Lion Cubs Playing Tree Limb Serengeti Heather Garcia

How nws supports lion conservation

At Natural World Safaris we frequently monitor the social, economic and environmental impact of our travel operations to ensure we are at the forefront of a sustainable and ethical tourism industry. We aim to work collaboratively with our partners and suppliers who we view as crucial stakeholders in the natural and cultural experiences we offer.   

We are proud to be partnered with the leading ecotourism operators who launched The Lionscape Coalition. Putting all commercial considerations aside, we have seen this alliance bring to this initiative over 100 years of positive conservation and community impact throughout Africa, something we are proud to support. 

Across this, we are proud to offer safaris which offer conservational education at the heart of each trip. Each safari run provides income for local communities, providing an incentive to live with these majestic big cats. From seeing tree-climbing lions in Uganda, to the mighty black-maned prides in the Kalahari, and even visiting big cat sanctuaries in Namibia for up close and personal encounters, we are pleased to inspire those with the hope of making a change.

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