In partnership with the Lion Recovery Fund, Africa ecotourism operators andBeyond, Conservation Travel Foundation by Ultimate Safaris, Singita and Wilderness Safaris are launching the Lionscape Coalition—an initiative that brings four commercial competitors together to protect Africa’s lions.
Africa’s lion population has been cut by 50 percent in the past 25 years, and the species is now officially classified by the IUCN as ‘Vulnerable,’ with the West African subspecies ‘Critically Endangered.” Factors contributing to this decline include habitat loss and fragmentation, illegal wildlife trade, bushmeat poaching and human-lion conflict. However, andBeyond says a turnaround is still possible if these key issues are addressed.
Each member of the Lionscape Coalition has made an annual philanthropic investment into the LRF. 50 percent of the amount contributed is sent to projects in countries where the member operates, while the other 50 percent is utilized at the consideration of the LRF’s Granting Committee. This initiative is a means for these ecotourism operators to make direct contributions to lion conservation beyond the limitations of their direct areas of operation.
The LRF’s stated vision is to see wild lion numbers doubled by 2050. By engaging guests before, during and after their safaris about the threats and opportunities for lion conservation, Lionscape Coalition members will aim to generate additional funding in support of the LRF’s goals, with 100 percent of all donations received channeled directly to projects on the ground.
The strategy of this dedicated initiative focuses on three critical aspects:
- Expanding conservation coverage by increasing the extent and effectiveness of the management of ‘lionscapes’ across Africa
- Building public, political, and philanthropic will—creating a collective intent across the spheres of governments, non- profit organizations, philanthropists and the public
- The scaling of funding, elevating the amount of funding available for the conservation of lions and their landscapes
andBeyond says Africa’s ecotourism is intrinsically linked to the health of its wildlife populations. That means, the loss of lions will not only have dire ecological consequences, but will jeopardize the tourism industry itself, the jobs it creates and the many national economies to which it makes such an important contribution.
In other andBeyond news, the company’s Tengile River Lodge had launched in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve last year. The new property is aiming to provide “a luxury experience that hasn’t been available here before,” as stated in an official press release.
To donate to the Lion Recovery Fund, visit this link.