We have invited Carolyn Jess back to help us out as guest blogger in 2015 with a focus on native wildlife. Jess is a 14 year old student who has agreed to be our special guest blogger about wildlife conservation. Carolyn was awarded the Alban Heiser Conservation Award in 2014, presented to her by Jack Hanna. If you would like to contact Carolyn or have comments, you may send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
This summer seemed to go by extremely fast, which, like it or not, leads into going back to school very soon. Just before I head back into the classroom, I am feeling the need for one more celebration before I hit the books and my studying. What is there to celebrate when there is so much back to school mayhem? World Lion Day of course! World Lion Day is on August 10th and is a great way to celebrate our lions everywhere in the world. These majestic creatures symbolize strength, honor, and bravery. I think back on books I’ve read and movies I’ve watched with lions in them, and all of them use lions to suggest strength and courage. Our lions in Africa and India are strong and courageous, but they need our help in a battle that they are continually fighting. This is a battle that is truly hard for them to win, but all of us can help them to overcome this struggle. One struggle the lions are facing is called human-wildlife conflict. Basically, as more land is taken away from the lions’ territory for agricultural development and as populations increase, more human –wildlife conflict is occurring. This seems to be a difficult problem to fix, but there is a solution that has proven to be successful. Lion Guardians, men who are in charge of protecting lions, are helping to increase the lions’ population and intervening in positive ways. Lion guardians help with building protective fences around livestock, help find lost and wandering livestock, warn farmers when lions are spotted on their land, and are creating an awareness of the lion’s importance for the people who live in these areas. These men use what is called “conflict mitigation” and they have been successful in helping their communities gain a greater understanding of carnivores.
The Houston Zoo supports projects which provide training and resources for the Lion Guardians. These projects provide the materials and critical resources needed to the villagers in these areas that provide hope for our lions. Without these groups, we could one day only see these lions in the books and movies and not in the wild.
Let’s celebrate the importance of our world’s lions and create awareness for them. August 10th is the lions’ special day, so why not visit them at the zoo?
Learn about all the organizations that the Houston Zoo works with to save lions in the wild and read about the 2015 Feed Your Wildlife Conservation Gala on October 14th 2015. You can help us protect lions in Africa. This event will support a regional effort called Pride: Lion Conservation Alliance, that is finding solutions to save lions from extinction across East Africa.