Lion Conservation Efforts
The current status for the Lion is critically endangered. That means we have to act and do so aggressively if we want to see these animals survive. When it comes to their future we first have to take a good look at what is going on with them. The destruction of their natural habitat continues to be a primary reason that they aren’t doing well in the wild. They need their home range to be able to find food. When those food sources are very difficult to find their own future is in jeopardy.
Humans continue to move closer and closer to the areas where the Lions were once free to roam for food. They use this land for agriculture, to raise animals through ranching efforts. This means that the Lions are often fighting for those same areas. It is no wonder that livestock are often killed by them in these efforts for survival.
Hunting of the Lion continues in many regions even though it is illegal. There are people that are afraid of these animals coming into contact with them. They also want to protect the livestock that they have invested in. There are some that pay good money to be taken on guided hunts too. They want to experience the thrill of killing a feline.
The predation from male lion to cubs is a concern as there isn’t enough time to get their numbers up with it. When females have young cubs to care for they aren’t taking part in mating. There is also the concern that with such a low number of them in the wild they are mating with those that are too closely related to them. There is a weak genetic pool for the Lions to begin with so this is hard to overcome.
There are some successful breeding programs in place in zoos around the world. The goal of them is to help increase reproduction rates. One of the ways that they do so is to take the young from their mother soon after birth. They are fed by humans so that they get the nutrition they need. With a high cub mortality rate in the wild, this is one way to make sure that more of them are able to survive in captivity.
There is also a very selective process in place when it comes to helping with the genetics of the Lion. Since they are very closely related in various DNA the goal is to match up Lions for matching that have as different of matches as possible. Sometimes this is done with only the sperm being taken from the male and then inserted into the female. This is safer and less expensive than transporting the animals from one zoo to another.
When you look at the numbers they more than speak for themselves. In the last 20 years the number of Lions in the wild have decreased by about 50%. If effective conservation efforts don’t take action now then there is a high risk that we will lose those that remain in 15 years or less.
There are plenty of groups out there dedicated to preserving the future for the Lion. They don’t want to see them only living in captivity. You can be part of those efforts by offering your time or money to such efforts. You may think your efforts won’t matter but in reality they are going to. Those collective efforts of individuals can make the difference for the Lion between life and death so make your contribute count.