By Anthony Ham – The Age
When Kamunu Saitoti heard that Nosieki the lioness had been killed, he wept. Saitoti is a young Maasai warrior (murran) in southern Kenya, and for centuries his people have killed lions, doing so to prove their bravery and their readiness to protect their communities. Killing lions is a rite of passage, a cornerstone of Maasai identity. It is also one of Africa's oldest battles. The other reason why the Maasai kill lions - is more prosaic: an eye for an eye. This, too, is one of the immutable laws of the African wild whenever predators and human beings come into conflict. It is also precisely why Nosieki had been poisoned - a Maasai cow had been killed by a predator and the Maasai wanted revenge.
Watch HuffPost Live Video Interview with Panthera’s President, Dr. Luke Hunter, on Captive Big Cats & State of Cats in the Wild
Today, Panthera's President & wild cat scientist, Dr. Luke Hunter, was interviewed on the webTV network HuffPost Live on the state of wild cats around the world and what is truly needed to ensure their survival long into the future. Learn about Panthera's efforts to "preserve habitat & address threats facing cats around the world so they can exist in the wild & aren't just restricted to captivity." Also hear Dr. Hunter’s feedback on the nature of wild cats kept in captivity and the events surrounding the recent, tragic California Cat Haven Sanctuary attack.
Watch the interview below:
New York, NY - A new report published today concludes that nearly half of Africa's wild lion populations may decline to near extinction over the next 20-40 years without urgent conservation measures. The plight of many lion populations is so bleak, the report concludes that fencing them in - and fencing humans out - may be their only hope for survival.
Last year, the international conservation journal, Oryx, published a Panthera co-authored report, (‘Walking with lions: Why there is no role for captive-origin lions (Panthera leo) in species restoration’) which assessed the potential of Africa’s ‘wildlife encounter’ operations to assist in the conservation of the continent’s declining wild lion population, now estimated to number fewer than 30,000 individuals.
Popular among tourists, these self-proclaimed ‘eco-tourism’ operations typically charge paying customers to pet, feed and walk with hand-raised and so-called ‘tame’ lions, claiming to eventually release these captive lions into the wild.
Our photo of the day shows an affectionate lioness and her son in the midst of a morning cleaning session, in South Africa’s Thanda Private Game Reserve. Read up on Panthera's lion conservation work across Africa through Project Leonardo and our work in the Phinda Game Reserve, bordering Thanda, to preserve the region's leopard populations through the Munyawana Leopard Project.
In addition to its notoriety for three spectacular volcanic craters and the Olduvai Gorge archaeological site where the unearthing of hominid fossils helped to establish Africa as the ‘cradle of mankind,’ Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is particularly renowned for its ubiquitous wildlife. Drawing in thousands of tourists from around the world every year, the Ngorongoro region hosts one of the world’s most superb natural phenomenons – the annual great migration of over 1 million wildebeest, zebra, gazelle and other herbivores, which graze and bear their young across Tanzania’s Serengeti plains, to Kenya’s Maasai Mara region, and back.
Enjoy our photo of the day of two lion cubs feeding! Typically, 2-4 cubs are born to a litter, but they can be as large as 7! And although cubs begin to hunt independently at around 18 months, they rarely leave their pride before the age of 2. Learn more about lions and Panthera’s solution to protecting and increasing the world’s remaining African lion populations through Project Leonardo
Give us your best caption for our photo of the day of a sleepy African lion, taken by Panthera's partner photographer, Christian Sperka!
Learn more about how Panthera is working to ensure a future for this iconic big cat through Project Leonardo.
Suitable Lion Habitat Reduced by 75% and Wild Lion Population Under Decline
New York, NY – A new study released this week confirms that lions are rapidly and literally losing ground across Africa’s once-thriving savannahs due to burgeoning human population growth and subsequent, massive land-use conversion. Representing the most comprehensive assessment of the state and vitality of African savannah habitat to date, the report maintains that the lion has lost 75% of its original natural habitat in Africa – a reduction that has devastated lion populations across the continent.
Please enjoy our photo of the day of two cuddly lions in Zimbabwe! Thanks to your help, we are thrilled to share that #GivingTuesday was a huge success for Panthera and wild cats! We will post more details on the total amount of #GivingTuesday donations raised very soon! On behalf of everyone at Panthera, we sincerely thank you for thinking of us this holiday season and making a contribution that will go twice as far in conserving wild cats!