World Lion Day 2020

A Long History of Conserving the Lion

By Luke Hunter | August 10, 2020

Male lions in Uganda’s grasslands. Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS

Today, humans rather than natural causes are the main reason that adult lions die in many populations.

Heavy demands were evidently no hardship for George. By 1973 — I was five then — he had published three books on his research. One of them, The Serengeti Lion (1972) is still in print and still the most comprehensive, scholarly title ever published on the species.

George Schaller at work in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. Photo credit: ©George Schaller

WCS’s landscapes give sanctuary to many of the most imperiled lion populations, where extreme poverty, insecurity, and increasingly severe climatic perturbations create formidable challenges to conservation.

Outside of four southern African countries where lions are stable or increasing, populations are down by 60% since the early 1990s, when I first started working on the species.

Female lion in Zambia. Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS
Tree climbing female lion in Uganda. Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS

Over the next 25 years, WCS will work to increase lion numbers in the sites where we work by at least 50 percent — or 2000 to 2250 more wild lions.

It is led by African conservationists and biologists following in George’s footsteps, people like Roger Fotso, Noah Mpunga and Simon Nampindo who head three of our most important country programs for lions in Cameroon, Tanzania, and Uganda respectively.

WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.

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