Lions are in trouble – there are just 20,000 today, down from 200,000 around 100 years ago. But everyone’s favorite eco-warrior, Leonardo DiCaprio, isn’t going to sit by while big cat populations plummet. His foundation has teamed up with the Wildlife Conservation Network to launch the Lion Recovery Fund (LRF), a nonprofit that seeks to double the amount of lions by 2050.
Lion populations have plunged as they suffer from habitat loss, and the loss of prey to sustain them. The animals are gone from 80 to 90 percent of their range in the past, and the lion populations of 26 countries have vanished. But it’s not too late for lions – if African parks were effectively managed while nearby communities were supported, there could be three to four times the number of lions, according to the LRF. The fund will support groups working for lion conservation in Africa – and 100 percent of every dollar given to the fund will go to partners.
Related: West African Lion Alarmingly Close to Extinction, New Study Finds
In just the last 25 years alone, half of the wild lion population has been lost. Proud to launch the Lion Recovery Fund today on #WorldLionDay- an initiative of Wildlife Conservation Network and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Find out how you can help #savelions at: www.lionrecoveryfund.org
Posted by Leonardo DiCaprio on Thursday, August 10, 2017
The LRF has already allocated over $800,000 to partners like Panthera in Senegal, the Wildlife Crime Prevention Project in Zambia, and the African Parks Network in Benin. Money will go towards efforts to combat poaching, secure space for lions to recover, and lower conflict between the big cats and humans.
Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation executive director Justin Winters said in a statement, “With the population of Africa expected to double by 2050, this is an opportunity to show the world that development does not have to come at the expense of wild landscapes and species. Humans and the natural world can coexist and thrive.”
DiCaprio called for people to get involved. In a statement, he said, “We’re losing our planet’s wildlife – even such iconic species as the African Lion – at a dangerously rapid pace. An astonishingly small amount of philanthropic dollars go towards protecting wildlife, but together we can turn that around.” You can donate to the fund here.
+ Wildlife Conservation Network
+ Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
Via the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
Images via Bram Vranckx on Unsplash and Christine Donaldson on Unsplash
Kudos, Leo...but what about trophy hunters? As you build up funds to combat poachers, trophy hunters are just adding to the decline. The more lions that are saved and repopulate, the more trophy hunters kill. Right now around 8 African countries allow trophy hunting and no matter how hard you build populations, it is still legal there. They believe that lions need to be managed in order to save the species and everything they do is for conservation efforts, to combat poaching and help feed local people. With the minimal amount of lions left, they claim that they have helped the species thrive and because of them. they are have repopulated about 39%. If nothing is done about these creedy vile scum, this program as well as others are and will be for nothing.