Lion Conservation

2016 Successes:

  • Protected 20% of Africa’s remaining free-range lion population
  • Employed nearly 300 local community members – including 47 new team members
  • Provided 26 student scholarships for local children to continue their education

Africa’s wild lion populations have seen a dramatic decrease in the last century from a population believed to be over 200,000 to less than 25,000 individual lions remaining today. Disappearing from nearly 90% of their historical range, there may only be 5-6 largely connected population of lions of 1,000 individuals. Continued habitat loss, illegal bushmeat trade and conflict with local communities will continue to fragment populations across the continent and reduce the viability of the population as a whole. The East African region the Houston Zoo is currently investing in over the long-term holds approximately 20% of the world’s remaining wild African lion population.

The goal of these efforts are to conserve lions and other large carnivores (cheetahs, leopards, African painted dogs and hyenas) in what can be considered a critical hotspot of predator biodiversity across the countries of Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia. The region has seen a continued increase in human-predator conflict over both food and water as well as incidental take by bush snares when local communities hunt for protein sources such as small antelope and other game.

Pride Lion Conservation Alliance

The lion, an animal that has been prominent for decades in media, movies, television and even zoos, is quietly disappearing across their historical range in Africa. Pride Lion Conservation Alliance members have joined forces, working together as a united front to impact lion conservation on a meaningful scale. We are using our collective experience as leaders, influencers, strategists, and on-the-ground field conservationists, with a solutions-focused approach to halt the decline of lion populations.


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How the Zoo is helping lions in the wild:

    • Supporting the progress of the PRIDE Lion Conservation Alliance
    • Capacity building for local staff at each of our partner sites
    • Hosting “Lion Fun Days” here at the Houston Zoo to connect our guests in Houston to children to communities living in critical lion habitat in Mozambique
    • Support the development of the Mariri Environmental and Skills Training Center for the local communities in Niassa National Reserve, Mozambique

Learn More about the Members of PRIDE:

Niassa Carnivore Project, Mozambique
Ewaso Lions, Kenya
Ruaha Carnivore Project, Tanzania
Lion Guardians, Kenya and Tanzania
Lion Landscapes, Zambia

 

How you can help lions in the wild: