Thika Travel Co-Founding Member Of the Lionscape Coalition
Worldwide, biodiversity is under attack. Habitats are shrinking, species disappearing and oceans full of plastic and pollutions. The African continent is not different in this to other continents. Zooming in on wildlife, equally so many kinds of species face big threats or even extinction. Killings and poaching of elephants and rhinos have raised to alarming rates. Giraffes might be extinct in only a few years, leopards not as widespread as always believed and the seldomly seen pangolins, believe it or not, are among the most heavily trafficked animals worldwide. Can this be stopped? Can this even be reversed?
What About Lions?
Remarkable and intriguing as ever, nature and its inhabitants are resilient when it comes to survival and recovery. This will be when human – wildlife conflicts can be driven into another direction.
With the worldwide release this week of the remake of what many generations have been brought up with: Disney’s The Lion King. The apex predator is back in the conservation lime light as well. That is, with the general public, because there are many in Africa currently and in the past dedicated to conserve and protect this not only fascinating but also vital chain in Africa’s biodiversity. Researchers and conservationists spend years if not their entire adult life to lions, wildlife rangers and national parks staff risk their lives on a daily basis to fend off or arrest poachers.
Thika Travel and Lions
A long standing engagement as we have always been involved in conservation and we drive our tourism as much as we can to support conservation. The Thika Foundation, created for and run by Thika Travel clients, chose as one of their main 2018 beneficiaries to be the Desert Lion Project, initiated by Dr Philip Stander. He was guest of honour in the Thika Travel Speakers’ Academy talk end of March 2019, together with famed film maker Lianne Steenkamp, who documented the desert lions and the work of Dr Stander in the multi award winning twin films on The Vanishing Kings of north-western Namibia.
But Thika Travel’s involvement goes much further than this. Thika joined a UK colleague and her Namibian partner Ultimate Safaris in the Conservation Travel Foundation’s drive to become founding member of the Lionscape Coalition. Both European partners decided to stay behind the scenes and let Tristan Cowley of Ultimate Safaris join the advisory board within the Lion Recovery Fund (LRF), of which the Lionscape Coalition forms an integral part. With LRF we believe that we can fight our way back* and create conditions for the lion populations in Africa to regain its size of 25 years ago: 40.000 strong.
HOW? Please Keep Reading!
From the press release of March 28, 2019 of this fabulous conservation initiative:
“The Lionscape Coalition is a joint initiative between the ecotourism industry and the Lion Recovery Fund that enables Africa’s top operators to play a leadership role in the recovery of lions and the restoration of their landscapes. Founding members of the Lionscape Coalition, &Beyond, Conservation Travel Foundation by Ultimate Safaris, Singita and Wilderness Safaris, have made philanthropic investments in lion conservation programmes through the Lion Recovery Fund, and work to promote awareness and philanthropy by their guests before, during, and after their journeys.”
About The Lion Recovery Fund
The Lion Recovery Fund (LRF) 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. In recovering lions, the LRF also aims to restore the health of their landscapes and all that they provide for local people and wildlife. The LRF sends 100% of donations directly to projects that conserve lions, investing in the best ideas for lion recovery, and supporting projects beyond any singular country across lions’ entire range.
About The Wildlife Conservation Network
The Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) has a unique approach to saving endangered species; seeking out and supporting conservation initiatives that protect endangered species and help wildlife and people coexist. Through its Network, WCN invests in a select group of effective conservationists by providing financial support for their conservation programs and the tools and services they need to succeed. Through its Crisis and Recovery Funds, WCN invests in the best ideas to end extinction crises and bring a threatened species back from the brink, supporting a wide breadth of projects that protect a threatened species across its entire habitat.
The link with Disney is short and strong: for many years have Disney and the WCN been partners in conservation and when The Lion King was due to be released Disney donated USD 1.5 million to the Lion Recovery Fund, which could be upped to USD 3 million with the Protect The Pride campaign, Disney launched.
More details about all this in my next blog.
Please join me and many a Thika Travel client and the Board Members of the Thika Foundation, to support this great initiative. As founding members of the Lionscape Coalition have we been able to identify our own favoured lion protection program. It would come as no surprise that this is the Desert Lion Project, the Thika Foundation has been supporting all along.
Through the DONATE it is easy to help the project. Thika Travel bares all costs involved and the Board Members have all abstained from any remuneration, so all donations flow 100% to the Thika Foundation and into the Desert Lion Project.
Thank you for your support!