Celebrate World Lion Day by Helping the Lions of Namibia

Saturday the 10th of August 2013 is the first time that World Lion Day will be celebrated. To coincide with this landmark day the TOSCO trust has decided to offer a two night all inclusive safari adventure at Wilderness Safaris’ Damaraland Camp for one lucky couple. All you have to do to enter this competition is read the post below and then follow the links and the instructions and you could be chosen to experience two nights with a partner in the unforgettable Huab River Valley.

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Looking out over the pool at the Damaraland Camp
(image courtesy of Scott Dunn)

Why we need a World Lion Day

In the past 50 years lion numbers have plummeted by 80-90% leaving only about 25 000 lions today. Many argue that this rapid decline in lion population is more severe than that being suffered by the rhinos of Africa. The scattered and isolated prides of lions that now live all over Africa are massively at risk. Some alarming reports suggest that wild lions could become extinct in as little as 10 years. This would mean that the only lions left in the world would be those raised in captivity.

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Lioness stalking the Hoanib Floodplain
(image courtesy of the Desert Lion Project)

What is happenning to the lions of Africa?

The reasons for this mass slaughtering of lions is varied. The main problem faced by lions arise due to a conflict over resources with human beings. Lions are efficient predators and given the chance they will eat livestock. This makes them a target of local farmers who will then kill lions on-sight in an effort to prevent further livestock losses. Lions are also losing their habitats due to human encroachment, be it in the form of settlements or ever-growing farmlands. Add then to these two factors the fact that lion bones are used medicinally in parts of Asia and you have a massive problem that requires a lot of work to fix.

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Lion cubs in Botswana
(image courtesy of Reuben Goldberg via Timeslive.co.za)

The first step on the long road to saving the African lion is to address each problem facing these noble creatures. We all need to publicize that there is a massive problem facing lions right now. This is what TOSCO and others hope to achieve through initiatives like World Lion Day 2013.

World Lion Day and other lion conservation projects

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Image courtesy of Greg du Toit via Volunteer Africa

Awareness is only the tip of the iceberg. One of the major factors leading to the decline of lion populations in Africa is the conflict between the people of Africa and its lions. People need to be able to share in the profits of having lions on the continent if they are to be convinced to stop killing them. Profit sharing like this would enable local people to not just feel like lions are a threat to their ways of life but are able to rather be a valuable part of their lives.

One such project encouraging the co-existence of lions and humans is the Lion Guardians Project. This project has been extremely successful in encouraging a healthy respect and reverence for lions in Kenya. The basic aims of the project are to establish individuals in communities as lion guardians. These lion guardians are then tasked with keeping the lions away from the villages and farms. This protects the lions from the humans and the humans from the lions. The project has allowed communities to live more peacefully with their lion neighbors and it allows communities to enjoy the benefits of increased and sustainable tourism directly associated with wild lions.

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A Lion Guardian holds a lion’s paw
(image courtesy of Philip J. Briggs via Flickr)

TOSCO Trust, IRDNC and the Desert Lion Project are attempting to launch this program in Namibia. By supporting TOSCO you can directly contribute to the employment of lion guardians to protect these magnificent animals.

This is not the only project in Namibia geared toward conserving wild lions. Since there are currently around 500 – 800 wild lions in Namibia several conservation projects run at the same time. As a result many niche conservation projects are setup across Namibia one such project focusses on a very specific and uniquely adapted lion: The desert adapted lions of the Kunene region.

These desert lions are particularly at risk since they live such a precarious life and are much more likely to be harmed by human activity. Thus TOSCO has decided to partner with local communities, the IRDNC, and the Desert Lion Project to build special lion proof bomas for the local people's livestock. The idea for this project comes from yet another successful Kenyan initiative illustrated in this video by Richard Turere.

Video via TED.com

How you can help... and Win!

Without programs like the ones mentioned above the lion in Africa is doomed. You can help by raising awareness or by giving donations.

In order to encourage awareness about the plight of the lion in Africa TOSCO is giving away a 2-night stay at a luxury resort in Namibia. To enter this competition, simply follow these steps: 

  • Forward this competition to at least 5 friends

After this all you have to do is name 2 organisations that support lion conservation in Namibia.
The answer can be found on the World Lion Day website or on TOSCO Trust’s website. Send your answer by e-mail to info@tosco.org with the subject line “World Lion Day Competition”.

Entries must include your full name, e-mail address and a contact number. The competition closes on Saturday 10 August 2013. The prize will be awarded to one of the senders with the correct answer after the closing date. 

female dunes

A pair of lionesses patrolling the dunes
(image courtesy of Desert Lion Conservation)

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