A Feline under Close Surveillance
With his impressive mane, his natural poise and his suave and confident gait, the African lion quickly established himself as the king of the animal kingdom in our popular imagination. However, the lord of the savannah’s survival is more precarious than ever: his kingdom is eroding and he’s being threatened on all sides.
Over the last 50 years, lion populations in the wild have declined by 50% … to the point that, if nothing is done, the species may disappear by 2050.
It isestimated that the current population of African lions is between 23,000 and 38,000 individuals in the wild. Experts claim that there were about 500,000 of them at the beginning of the 20th century. Dispersed throughout the continent, these big cats are threatened by poachers, but also because their habitats are changing: drainage, transformation of natural areas for pastures and agricultural zones plus, an increase in urban expansion has an impact as well. The latter is also responsible for the growing number of conflicts between lions and humans. Finally, the loss of natural spaces also affects the prey populations that are becoming scarce.
Many organizations, supported by the work of dedicated researchers and biologists, toil in the field to protect lion populations in the wild; this is particularly the case for Lion Guardians (www.lionguardians.com), which promotes local community involvement for gathering scientific data and for establishing sustainable solutions in the fight againsthumans vs. lion conflicts. In fact, the Maasai people act as natural trackers. Their knowledge and highly competent skills give the organization’s work all the more legitimacy. It is for these reasons that the Zoo de Granby is therefore proud to financially support the Lion Guardians ongoing projects and initiatives in the field.