Today is officially "World Lion Day" - a day to think about these magnificent creatures and spread the word...
The King of the Jungle is under a serious threat.
When most people think of Africa the first creature that comes to mind is the lion... He is an indestructible strength and beauty. None can overpower him.
When most people think of threatened species they think of pandas, elephants, rhinos... Herbivores... Relatively defenceless. But lions? Lions are fierce,powerful, predators! How can lions be under threat?
So here are a few facts and figures for you. In 1975, just thirty-eight years ago, there was an estimated population of 250,000 lions roaming wild in Africa. Today the population stands between 25,000 - 30,000 individuals. It doesn't take a genius to see that this is unsustainable.
Lions are threatened by a range of factors...
But at the end of the day, once again, it boils down to one source - Humans. Humans have destroyed their habitat. Humans have over-hunted their prey. When under threat humans kill. Humans poach for money. Humans spread disease. Humans, in blocking off movements, have forced inbreeding. Humans has an insatiable thirst to dominate.
I think of all the threats lions face the most destructive (and strangely enough probably the most easily stopped) is trophy hunting. It absolutely shocks me to know that trophy lion hunting is still a popular ongoing "sport". For some reason people get a great amount of pleasure from having the ultimate dominance over an animal that can kill you in an instance... but in the most cowedly way imaginable... hidden off in a bush with a gun.
But it gets worse - canned hunting. This is a practise in which a lion cub is raised in a small enclosure (and often petted and taken out by unsuspecting paying members of the public... see earlier post: http://www.wildida.com/1/post/2013/06/false-pretences-lion-breeding-projects.html), and when it grows big enough is put out into an enclosure and shot by a hunter who has paid thousands of dollars for the privilege. This is beyond cowardice, beyond animal cruelty... This is slaughter.
Unfortunately this practise is not widely known about, and so not much is being done to stop it. So today, World Lion Day, is your chance to do something... Spread the word... #WorldLionDay .... Make sure all your friends and family know and join petition groups. If we can stop Trophy Hunting perhaps we can save our King.