My name is Edward Bourke, I am 14 years old and I am the Chairman of Saving The Lion Foundation. Please help me Save the Lions. Lion populations are sliding quickly towards extinction across Africa.
Lions have disappeared from 80% of their historic range and are currently present in 28 countries in Africa and extinct in 26 countries. Only 7 countries are believed to be home to over 1,000 lions. These countries are Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. In the last 20 years lion populations have decreased by 90%, this is primarily due to Habitat Loss, Poaching, Human Conflict and Canned Hunting. Without drastic and immediate action lions will be extinct from the African continent by 2050.
Habitat Loss is a huge problem in Africa, as agriculture expands, the beautiful African Savannahs are swallowed up. Lions and their prides rely on herds of wildebeest, impala and other African prey to survive. As the Savannahs are destroyed and the herds move to more fertile ground lions are starved and forced to hunt cattle from the farms that have encroached onto their territory.
Poaching and Human Conflict:
When lions are forced to hunt cattle from farms that have swallowed up their habitat, human conflict can often follow. For example, in January of 2015 six lions were killed in Tanzania in retaliation for the loss of a cow.
Canned Hunting is a barbaric practice most common in South Africa. This practice involves acclimatising lions to interaction with humans to be shot with a bullet or arrow when fully grown. When lions in Canned Hunting facilities are “hunted”, they are placed in an enclosure from which there is no escape, they have been acclimatised to humans interaction, they are bated and even drugged to ensure the kill is guaranteed.
Cub Petting and Walking With Lions:
Lions in canned hunting facilities have been acclimatised towards interaction with humans through practices known as Cub Petting and Walking With Lions. Many tourists fall into the trap of participating in Cub Petting and Walking With Lions, believing they are contributing to conservation. This is not the case, when you participate in Cub Petting or Walking With Lions, you are directly enriching and supporting the Canned Hunting industry. Cub Petting is offered at many tourist destinations in South Africa and other locations throughout Africa. Cub Petting is a practice in which you pay for the opportunity to interact with lion cubs, this is a way for the canned hunting farms and tourist attractions which supply canned hunting farms to make money from the lions, which will eventually be sold to the farms and hunting ranches where they will be shot. Walking With Lions is much the same, however in this case the lions are older but not fully grown. This is another way the canned hunting facilities and other tourist attractions are able to make money before the brutal killing of the lions takes place. Cubs are often taken from the wild to ensure a constant supply of new genes in the breeding farms, this means that conservation of lion populations is taking a huge hit and this is contributing to the huge decline in lion populations across Africa.
Awareness is key to helping ensure lion populations are conserved and grow. Awareness is also key to helping ensure that the barbaric and cruel practice of Canned Hunting does not continue. When visiting Africa, I ask all tourists to please avoid any destination that offers Cub Petting or Walking With Lions. Participating in these activities is not contributing to conservation, it is contributing to the brutal slaughter of lions and the continual decline of wild lion populations. I also ask that people share their knowledge of the situations facing the lion today and help to create a broader global awareness of these issues. Thank you.