In just 25 years, we have lost half of Africa’s lions with perhaps only 20,000 remaining. Lions have been decimated by poaching with snares, human-lion conflict, and habitat loss. New threats are on the rise, such as targeted poaching of lions for their parts.Yet the state of the lion is hopeful. Lions are prolific and can recover when protected.
The Lion Recovery Fund was created by the Wildlife Conservation Network, in partnership with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to double the number of lions in Africa, regaining those lions lost over the past 25 years. Oakland Zoo partners with this project on their Lion Alliance for Queen Elizabeth Park, Uganda.
Lions in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park face the challenge of sharing their habitat with people, resulting in human-wildlife conflict that has pushed these African cats into crisis. With villages next to or even inside the park, livestock are herded and sheltered right into lion habitat, leading to easy predation for this native carnivore. Unfortunately, the loss of livestock often results in retaliatory killing of lions. The situation is hard on both wildlife and people.
Creating a Coalition: Most successful ventures take a team. The Lion Recovery Fund supports a team of organizations to ensure a future for lions in this region. Organizations such as Wildlife Conservation Society, Uganda Carnivore Program, Kansenyi Safari Camp and other lodges, and the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and the local community work together to ensure the best outcome for lions and the people.
Protection: The project works with local ranchers and extended community to ensure cattle are properly protected using appropriate methods and technologies (like lion deterrent lights) to prevent predation.
Response: A human-lion conflict response unit will be created and equipped with needed training and tools to immediately go to the scene of a conflict and ensure a safe outcome for both people and lions.
Research: Lions will be tracked, monitored and studied to understand their movement and needs within the habitat.
Community Education and Well Being: A connection to lions and the shared habitat with be created through classes, events, materials and creative expression. Livelihood opportunities such as crafts and bee keeping will also be initiated.
Fundraising: Oakland Zoo’s Quarters for Conservation has chosen the Lion Recovery Fund as a focus project for 2018-2019.
Eco-Tours: Our teen and adult eco-tours to Uganda spend time with various aspects of this project in Queen Elizabeth National Park, gaining invaluable insight into the challenges facing both the human and wildlife populations in this biologically diverse part of Africa.
Staff Expertise: The Zoo’s staff provides support for various aspects of the project where our resources and skills are needed.
Vote for the Lion Recovery Fund at the Quarters for Conservation kiosk when you visit Oakland Zoo.
Travel with Oakland Zoo on our next eco-tour to Uganda and Rwanda in 2019 and learn more about these issues first hand. Contact Amy Gotliffe, Conservation Director for more information.
Attend Oakland Zoo’s Lion Appreciation Day in August – Link soon
When traveling,buy locally made goods that are created sustainably. Supporting local artisans allows for a livelihood that helps people, but does not harm wildlife.
Avoid any volunteering with lions that may support lion breeding for paid canned hunting.
Avoid entertainment with live lions or any wildlife.
Visit the Lion Recovery Fund's website for more information.