World Lion Day is celebrated every year on the 10th of August. In the following feature, Discover Animals look at the work of international wildlife charity TUSK who have dedicated 2019 to Year of The Lion …
Wildly recognised as The ‘King of Beasts’, lions have been celebrated and revered throughout history for their courage and strength. Once roaming most of Africa and parts of Asia and Europe, now only around 20,000 remain, and the lion is mostly regarded as an iconic symbol of Africa.
Yet three-quarters of African lion populations are in decline. The charity Tusk, dedicated to amplifying the impact of progressive conservation initiatives across Africa, is celebrating 2019 as the Year of the Lion, a move to shine a light on one of the world’s most charismatic animals and profile the work of some incredible conservation organisations working for a brighter future for the species. #YearofTheLion
African lions have been reduced to living on only 8% of the land they once occupied due to habitat loss and fragmentation, Tusk points out. Human-wildlife conflict, bushmeat hunting and an increasing illegal trade in lion parts further threaten the survival of this archetypal African species.
The lion is an apex and keystone predator, residing at the top of the food chain and controlling prey populations, ensuring numbers don’t explode uncontrollably and drive out many other species. Lions also have an almost unparalleled cultural identity, recognised by almost everyone from the local communities living alongside them to those globally who are awed by visions of the dominant force on the African savannah.
The work of Tusk’s partners focusses on human-wildlife conflict mitigation, working closely with local communities to raise awareness, ensure effective benefit or compensation mechanisms, adapt farming practices to reduce conflict and end retaliatory killings, and by improving arable land outside and bordering protected areas to provide viable alternatives for farming or ensure wildlife-integrated land use.
Discover Animals is pleased to support these important initiatives and to help us all better understand the threats to this amazing species.
Click here to read more about the African Lion and the conservation work of Tusk and its partners, plus a photographic competition.