The IUCN estimate that lion populations have declined 43% in just the 21 years between 1993 and 2014, and that fewer than 20,000 lions remain across Africa.
The primary reasons for the decline are habitat loss and prey-base depletion, two forces that combine to create a conflict between lions and people. Retaliatory killing of lions in response to lion predation of livestock is rife in many parts of Africa. However, whilst these threats are key to understanding the reasons for the decline, on their own they do not define the underlying drivers of the threat to the species.
A rapidly increasing human population in Africa, living in poverty and with food insecurity, is in direct competition with lions, and indeed other species, for the same resources of space, shelter and food. Wherever there is competition there is conflict. Unless our approach to conservation tackles the underlying issues we are simply placing a Band-Aid on a problem that is only going to get worse.
"ultimately, conservation is about people"
This is why ALERT takes a responsible development approach to lion conservation. Yes, we must continue to create solutions to help humans and lions to live alongside one another, but we can only achieve real protection in the long term if the people of Africa want to live alongside lions and other wildlife.
A RESPONSIBLE DEVELOPMENT APPROACH
Unless the people of Africa want to conserve lions, by benefitting from their presence, the species will continue to decline.
Our environment is shaped not just by geography and bio-physical factors, but also by socio-economic, cultural, legal and political ones. In most cases the challenges facing Africa’s people and its wildlife are too great and too complex, and they require too many resources, for any one organization to address.
We believe these challenges can most effectively be met by uniting community and policy makers with non-governmental organizations, scientists and business leaders. In doing so, the best solutions can be proposed that create benefits for stakeholder groups to generate sustainable motivation for sound conservation management. This union can ensure both present and future generations are able to enjoy the benefits of Africa’s environmental services by integrating the protection of natural processes with economic and social development in a process we term responsible development.
By acting collectively the stakeholders of Africa can combine expertise, knowledge and funding to generate real, long-lasting, cost efficient and responsible solutions that are reflected in policy of national governments all the way through the structure of society to the actions of the individual.
For more information about our charity, and our work, please visit our principal web site at www.lionalert.org.
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