World Lion Day 2017 - The African Lion Could Be Extinct By 2050!

World Lion Day 2017 - The African Lion Could Be Extinct By 2050!

Posted by Joshua McGill on 10th Aug 2017

The shocking and upsetting decline in populations of the lion species means World Lion Day 2017 is perhaps more important than ever before. If we are to save the ‘King of the Jungle,’ action is required now.

The day is dedicated to the most famous of big cats by raising awareness of their current plight and dwindling and fragmented presence on earth. The first World Lion Day was back in 2013, and the message is one that we should all listen to.

Some figures show that there are less than 20,000 lions in the wild living in their natural habitat. This figure is even more shocking when you consider that there were around 450,000 lions in the 1940's. At the current rate the lion population is decreasing, the African Lion could become extinct by 2050.

pictures of lions

What’s behind the declining population of lions?

According to the IUCN Red List, the lion is listed as ‘vulnerable’. This is due to the increase in land being used for farming across Africa, meaning that natural lion habitat is being reduced, thus leading to an increase in conflict with humans as they search for food and mates. Human development takes place on land which the lion once used for food sources, and the conflict occurs when the lions return hungry, but all they can find is the livestock of farmers, who have now claimed lion habitat for their own. Lions can be killed in these circumstances as they are seen as a threat to the livelihood of locals, as farmer's livestock is a major source income for these communities. Volunteering with lions in Africa will provide you the opportunity to educate the local communities about the importance of these majestic beasts and how to care for them in the best way.

world lion day 2017

Other factors that have led to the decrease are poaching and trophy hunting across some of Africa. Unfortunately, it is still legal in some areas of the continent to hunt lions, and figures show that around 1,500 lions a year are hunted as trophies. The increase in poaching is due to a high demand for lion bones in Asia, due to its use in some traditional medicines, and the newly established restrictions on tiger poaching in Asia. This trade affects lions in the wild more than in captivity, as it is thought by lion bone traders that wild lions have more potency to their bones than those bred elsewhere. However, the use of lion bones in medicine is purely hypothetical and there is no scientific evidence that supports the supposed benefits of using these ingredients in medicine. Additionally, many health practitioners have stated that they have never come across the use of lion bones in all their years of practice. In spite of this, lion hunting is fortunately prohibited in some African countries, however, more can and needs to be done. A prime example of this is the slaying of Cecil the lion, which left the world in uproar two years ago, and more recently, even the slaying of his son Xanda.

What’s being done?

orphaned baby lion cub

Thankfully, there are various conservation efforts taking place across Africa where people can volunteer with big cats and carnivores to try and increase how many lions are left in the world. The long overdue announcement that the lion would be placed on the Endangered Species Act List in December 2015 has certainly helped. If you volunteer in Namibia with The Great Projects, you can aid lion conservation by tracking them (and other carnivores) in the wild, monitoring their movements and behaviour. This helps to avoid human animal conflict because the projects can safely relocate the animals to safer areas, where they won't stray onto farmer's land. You can help to rehabilitate lions to potentially be re-released back into the wild. Additionally, you can volunteer with white lions in South Africa and aid the conservation of these pale beauties and continue to help conservationists support growing populations in the wild, that 20 years ago, never existed. To see a list of the projects that you can volunteer abroad on to aid lion conservation, please see the end of the article.

lion images

It is crucial that the lion’s natural habitat is better protected, and as a result, humans and lions stop coming into regular contact. volunteering with lions means that you can help to protect, maintain and sustain lion habitat throughout Africa and eventually the world. Here at The Great Projects, we are pleased to run a variety of conservation projects where you have the chance to volunteer with animals abroad, so get involved and help take part in assuring the lion’s survival. Make a difference on World Lion Day 2017.

How can you help?

volunteer with lions

It’s crucial that we all pitch in this World Lion Day, and raise awareness of what’s happening to one of the animal kingdom’s most recognisable golden mammals. Here are a few ideas for what you can do:

  • Show your support on social media; make sure your friends know all about the cause and the dangers the species face – be sure to tag us in all your pictures!
  • Raise money and donate to a charity protecting lions.
  • Become a wildlife volunteer; check out our project page and make a difference today!

pictures of lions

There’s a vast array of projects we run that you can get involved in, and what better way is there to help the Lion than getting involved yourself?

The projects you can get involved with to aid lion conservation are:

Show your support for the lion on August 10th, and become one of the people that helps to ensure generations to come can enjoy this majestic animal.


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