Lion Fun Day is a Success!

Houston Zoo staff are currently in Mozambique assisting our partners at the Niassa Lion Project (NLP) with their annual Lion Fun Days. This blog was written by Renee Bumpus, our Conservation Programs Manager. Read on to find out more about their experiences!
 
Niassa Lion Project and Houston Zoo staff in Mozambique.

Ultimately, local villages in the Niassa Reserve in Mozambique will decide the fate of wildlife here.   There is a lot of poverty in these villages and there was a time when wildlife seemed to work against them.  We must remember lions and elephants have been the cause of many deaths in these villages in the past.  The villages need to be reminded of the benefits of wildlife and that is what the Niassa Lion Project works tirelessly to do.

 
Lion Fun Days is held in Mbamba village, it is located in the Niassa Reserve with a population of around 2,000 people.  The purpose of Lion Fun Days are for the whole village to experience a couple of days of fun with the understanding that it is made possible by wildlife.
 
We drove to the village early in the morning, I sat in the back of the land rover with all of the staff. On the way I could sense the pride and excitement from the staff.  We sang ( I don’t speak the language, so I hummed along) and danced along the way.  As we entered the village we played the national song on the loud speaker attached to the land rover.  We all danced and clapped and people began to spill out.  Children ran after the truck in delight.  We stopped at the center of the village and continued to dance as we began the setup for the event.
Pin the tail on the lion
The NLP hires 70 local staff and many of them come from Mbamba. The staff run the event, and remind the village that the joy they feel from this event only comes from the wildlife.  The NLP staff are very proud of their positions.  They have become heroes in the village and are an example of how one can become successful without poaching.  Poaching is a very tempting activity in a village with such poverty.  It is a quick way to make a lot of money. NLP is offering a stable alternative.
 
It is impossible to measure the entire scope of success from this event, but having a time where everyone can forget the tensions of wildlife conflict and have fun together is of immeasurable level for both parties.  Last year a radio collar from a lion was turned in the day after and valuable data was retrieved from it.  The lion may or may not have been poached but regardless the event created enough of a sense of collaboration that the village felt like they could come forward with it .This year a declaration that the village will not allow poaching was signed on the last day after the event.  Both of these are significant positive contributions to conservation as a result of Lion Fun Days.
 
More to come from our staff working with our conservation partners in Mozambique!


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Status Update

Our corpse flower named "Reek" is showing signs of life! Our horticulture team is monitoring its progress daily for smells of death...

Learn about this interesting plant species and see more photos in our latest blog post.
www.houstonzoo.org/our-corpse-flower-is-alive/
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23 hours ago

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Jenny McCord, Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park and 23 others like this

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Shelby ColeWhen is it supposed to bloom?

20 hours ago
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Martha VillasenorWhere in the zoo is reek located ? Is it somewhere visible we could see it..

22 hours ago
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Tammy ErwinWhere in the Zoo is Reek located??? We don't want to miss getting a wiff of it.

22 hours ago   ·  1
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Trish McIntoshDoes Reek have her own page? Lois at HMNS was hugely popular a few years ago.

23 hours ago   ·  3
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Rebecca Ann ColeSally Nergaard remember when you and Kevy went and saw this flower in bloom?

23 hours ago
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Ashley MaldonadoAwesome!!! I got to see the corpse flower at hmns 5 years ago! Would love to see it again!

19 hours ago
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Tasha BhagwandinNot Theon… Reek!

21 hours ago   ·  10
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Casey Jones"You are not Reek, you are Theon Greyjoy!"

20 hours ago   ·  7
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Tyler NunleyI know I'm not the only one who thought of Game Of Thrones when reading this? Lol

18 hours ago   ·  3
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Maura A CampuzanoToo cool

20 hours ago   ·  1
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Lee Anne BayYay, I'm so excited! Watching Lois bloom was a rollercoaster, can't wait to see this one!!

22 hours ago   ·  1
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Angelique RodriguezI've always wanted to see one of these up close!!! ( and of course smell it he he)

22 hours ago
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Rachel PossoHa! Love the name.

22 hours ago
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Lauren CoxDanny Rubalcava Houston has one now too.. maybe we should get one for the back yard..

19 hours ago
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Kim Kooser KeefeAWESOME name!!!!

21 hours ago
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Nicki StacySaw this last week, looking forward to updates!

22 hours ago
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Maura A CampuzanoGaby Uribe, thought of you

20 hours ago   ·  1
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RickEy DentisPlease keep us updated on Facebook about it. I really want to go see this....thanks

22 hours ago
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Neva KloeselRoni Hopkins Glasgow LOOK, Another one!! Be sure to share with your sister!! ;)

23 hours ago
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Kayla RichardMelissa Shewbert take the daycare kids to smell this lol

16 hours ago
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Meghan Catherine BernalLaura N Rich lets go to the zoo hahah

20 hours ago
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Asiram Zellet YanezRose Chavez we should go see it!

22 hours ago   ·  1
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Betty TankYay!

22 hours ago
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Claire ShirleyYay! Britton Lang

15 hours ago   ·  1
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Nubia ReyesNancy Estrada Gomez remember seeing Lois?

21 hours ago
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Recently, two of our staff members spent time in California with The Marine Mammal Center (California) to help sea lions in need of veterinary care. Check out this video highlighting their important work! ... See MoreSee Less

1 day ago

Pam Grossman, Lauren St.Pierre and 23 others like this

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The Marine Mammal Center (California)Great vid! Thank you for coming out to help. We appreciate it!

1 day ago   ·  2
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Katharine KearnsYay! I need a Sea Lion bag too! I have the Sea Turtle bag.

1 day ago
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Marcy BaccusGreat to see HZI involved in rehab opportunities. There is a lot of need out there. Great Job!!!

6 hours ago
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Liz CleaveGood job. I love that these animals will eventually go back into the wild. Thank you for all your hard work.

12 hours ago
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Penny GwenWonderful!!!! I was there in the 80's and it looks great now and obviously grown so much....wish I'd volunteered when I had the chance!

1 day ago
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Dawn DonaldsonYay

1 day ago
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