Lions are an iconic species, a symbol of the wilds of Africa and incredibly popular in zoos. They are unique among the large cats, being sexually dimorphic and highly social, both of which adds to their charismatic appeal. Hundreds of thousands of lions roamed Africa just a century ago, ranging from the Barbary coast to Cape Town. Believing they were not under serious threat, zoos focused their conservation resources on more endangered cats. Over the last thirty years, things have changed dramatically for the African lion. Their numbers are estimated to have dropped below 30,000 and they have vanished from nearly 80% of their historic range (www.panthera.org/species/lion). Lions are under attack from disease, habitat destruction and conflict with humans and without our help, they could disappear from wild.
The AZA Lion Species Survival Plan (SSP) is committed to the management and welfare of lions in captivity, but we also believe we have an obligation to lions in the wild. In 2013, the Lion SSP, with support from the Houston Zoo and Denver Zoo, partnered to launch this conservation campaign. Our goal is to raise awareness among the zoo community about the threats lions face in the wild and offer a simple but impactful way to help. A team of captive lion managers and field conservation experts was consulted to select six projects that are working to save lions and help the people that live with them.
Thank you for visiting this page and we hope that you will consider supporting one of the important projects highlighted here. We also want to thank all the zoos that have supported lion conservation and continue to do so, either through this project or directly.
Hollie Colahan, Lion SSP Coordinator
Lion SSP Conservation Campaign
Helping People Saving Lions