World Lion Day: Lions are vulnerable, can I help them?

World Lion Day: Lions are vulnerable, can I help them?

In the last 20 years, 40% of the wild Lion population has been lost, but we can still make a difference. Consider donating, raising awareness, or sending a letter to your legislative representative

I’d be lion if I said this wasn’t funny

Okay, terrible pun. Before I get to the serious stuff, I have a great story for Lion Day. When I was a kid, I loved going to the Zoo. (I approach Zoos with a different lens today, but I still enjoy it!). My grandpa hated it.

My grandparents joined us to visit the zoo on one occasion and we found the male lion in his enclosure near feeding time. We were no closer than 10-15 feet and he was near the border closest to us. He was pacing and hungry.

After pacing in front of us for a few moments, he paused, lifted his leg and sprayed. Not only did he spray towards us, he had perfect aim, assuming he was aiming to hit my grandmother in the mouth. That’s right. A fully grown male lion emptied all 1125 ml (38 ounces) onto my grandma’s face.

And she took it in stride. She laughed and laughed through the whole thing, which only opened her mouth wider.

My grandpa, who hated the zoo, thought it was the best day ever. That was one of his favorite stories for the rest of his life.

World Lion Day

You may have seen some of the buzz floating around Twitter  (I recommend following @TheWCS and @NatGeo, by the way).

Lions are in trouble.

I realize that often these things come across as alarmist to a lot of folks and humans also have an in-born inability to really think longterm without a great amount of effort. As a result, we get this consensus that “well, sure animals are in danger, but I’m sure someone else will figure it out” or “It can’t be as bad as they are saying. They just need funding so they cry wolf”.

Wrong.

There are efforts being made, but it’s a problem that seems to be pushed aside and will continue to be so until it is made a priority, but it may be too late by that point.

Recently, it was made known that the US could be changing  legislation that would weaken the Endangered Species Act. We must fight back against such a senseless decision.

What is the Endangered Species Act?

It was enacted in 1973 “to halt and reverse the trend toward species extinction, whatever the cost”. This act has contributed to saving 99% of the species that have been listed. Many of them being raised to a less severe status. Only 10 species from that list have ended up extinct.

According to the commonly used systems for classifying conservation status, Lions are considered vulnerable. This means their population is decreasing. They have been considered endangered only since 2015.

As mentioned by the World Conservation Society, 40% of the wild Lion population has been lost in just 20 years. This is catastrophic. Take a moment to let that sink in. If 40% of humans were lost, that would be around 3 billion people. It’s staggering.

Are you ready to imagine a world where Lions have shared the same fate as Dodos?

I’m just one person, what can I do?

This one’s tough. If you’re not in Africa, Lions seem like another world away. I’ve never even seen a Lion in the wild. However, this does not mean you are powerless. Today, you can contact your legislative representative and ask them to protect wildlife. Does anyone want to see Lion’s brought home as trophies? This act prevents that.

If you want to do that, the WCS has provided a form to do so with minimal effort. You can also donate, but at the very least fill out the form to send the letter.

This isn’t hard and only takes a few moments. Please consider the difference it could make.

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