Lions4Lions aims to create worldwide awareness for the Lion species fate.
Lions4Lions is a Lions Club District 410A awareness project. It was started in January 2018 by Bee Lingg from the Lions Club of Gordon’s Bay. Since then, almost 5000 people have joined the projects growing Facebook group. Though the project is a Lions Club project, everybody is invited to help to spread the word.
Lions are synonymous with wild Africa, yet few realize the species has undergone catastrophic declines. Although being a licensed field guide and a keen wildlife photographer, Bee Lingg only realized in 2017, how dire the situation for the Lion Species really looks. Having extensively traveled all major African parks and game reserves where wild Lions still live in a (relative) abundance, this was an absolute eye-opener for her.
Lions once roamed from Europe to the southern tip of Africa and from West Africa to India. Their populations have declined by 93% in just one century. 1918, there were still 350.000 Lions roaming through Africa. 1958, the numbers of wild Lions were already down to 120.000. In 2018, the numbers reached the historical low of 20.000 Lions. Some even tend to estimate, that there are less than 18.000. The Lion species is extinct in 27 African countries. Furthermore, only seven countries contain more than 1.000 Lions.
What are the reasons?
There are many reasons for the decline. Biggest threat are habitat loss, landscape fragmentation & Human-Lion-Conflicts, as well as poisoning in retaliation. Illegal bush-meat trade of prey species results in Lions being caught and killed in snares. Lack of Lion prey results in the snaring in the same time. Trophy hunting has become less attractive for hunters due to international resistance. For the same reason, canned hunting is decreasing. Canned Hunting is a hunt in which a captive bred animal is killed in a confined area. In the same time, the trade with Lion bones and parts is on a long-term high. Lion bones are used for traditional “medicines”, wine and other products in Asia. Used as a substitute for Tiger bones, people believe that it provides health benefits.
What can be done?
Each of us can spread awareness. Almost everybody in South Africa must have heard about Skye, the Lion that was shot in June 2018 by a trophy hunter near the Kruger National Park. The killing of a lion, that was baited out of the protection of the national park sparked an outrage similar to the rage when Cecil the Lion was shot in 2015. The words were spread in hours on Social Media.
The same happened only days later, when Edna Molewa, South Africa’s minister of environmental affairs announced the doubling of the lion bone export quota. The worldwide protests resulted, most noteworthy, in a public Colloquium on Captive Lion Breeding for Hunting in South Africa in August 2018.
Awareness is key and crucial if we want to save Africa’s last wild Lions.
Two awareness videos and also flyers are available for distribution.