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Oyster Worldwide - Why volunteer with lions?

Date added: Friday 5th February 2016

The ‘king of beasts’ is a title greatly deserved by the magnificent lion. With its golden mane and sinewy limbs, the lion is one of nature’s greatest predators. With all its strength, it is shocking to learn that these majestic beasts are under threat, but that is the sad truth. Here are the main causes of declining lion figures across the world.

Environmental factors

There seems to be no end to the impact that environmental changes is having on the world’s animals and the lion is no exception. One of the biggest threats to lion populations is severe drought. The prey, hunted by the lion, becomes weaker and they attract more ticks. The ticks are then digested by the lion. It is believed that the ticks carry a blood parasite and a canine distemper virus, which combined is lethal for the lions. This co-infection problem will become more common as the world’s temperature rises. Another worrying factor that many animals worldwide face is the loss of natural habitat. As the human population increases, the space available for animals to roam free is greatly reduced. This leads to all sorts of issues as lions’ prey becomes limited and the breading options are reduced.

Abuse

Not only are humans an indirect threat to the welfare of lions, there are certain groups who are directly responsible for the ill treatment and neglect of these beautiful creatures. In certain zoos across the world, poor conditions and lack of food contributes to the death of many lions in captivity.

Although banned in many places, the use of lions in performances still happens. Born into captivity, trapped in dirty cages and tortured by ringmasters, these lions are subjected to awful treatment. Those that are not rescued often die young or turn aggressive. Those who are rescued often struggle to adapt to life in the wild and that is why charities that help to integrate animals into their natural environment are crucial.

Poisoned lions

In parts of Africa, the relationship between villagers and lions is often fraught with problems. Due to expanding farm land and shrinking natural habitat, lions often cross into farmer territory. With live stock available, lions seek them as prey. This in turn, leads to angry farmers seeking revenge. Lions are killed to protect local villages and sometimes they are also poisoned. Poisoned lions cause a ripple effect and pose a threat to the ecosystem as a whole because rotting lion carcasses are eaten by various scavengers, who are then also consume the poison. With an ever increasing population, this issue can only get worse if lion conservation is not made a priority.

Trophy Hunting

A topic that is greatly debated, many have fought for the hunting of animals to be banned. Unfortunately, hunting still takes place in protected areas. The main aim of many hunters is to kill young, male lions as trophies. By killing pride males, hunters put future reproductive pools at risk. Why is this allowed to happen? Because governments turn a blind eye due to monetary gains. Perhaps most shocking is that the money gained for these practices does not cover the cost of keeping the ‘hunting areas’ open so locals do not benefit from tourists who travel to Africa to take part in the hunting of lions.  There are countries that have banned hunting. However, this is not always a deterrent to those seeking animal trophies. That is why money raised by conservation programmes provides an important alternative to the money gained from wrongfully killing innocent animals.

How can you help?

If you want to help to conserve these amazing animals, why not volunteer at LIONSROCK, a sanctuary that provides a second chance for rescued lions. It is an animal welfare charity that currently houses over 80 lions, tigers, leopards and other big cats. If you want to learn more about how to get involved with this worthwhile cause, take a look at our lion conservation programme on our website.