Born Free Foundation and Partners Conduct Lion Census in Meru National Park
A new large carnivore census showed an encouraging lion population in Meru National Park in Kenya, amid the on-going battle against poaching.
The census was made possible through a joint project by Kenya Wildlife Service and international wildlife charity Born Free Foundation, and sponsored by the charity’s global partner, Land Rover.
The census revealed that an estimated 79 lions may be living in and around the park.
Meru is located below the North Eastern foothills of Mount Kenya. The area is the historic homeland of the world-famous lioness, Elsa, who was raised and returned to the wild by famous conservationists Joy and George Adamson. The story made big news and was told in the best-selling book and Oscar-winning film Born Free.
A Mission To Save the Lions
Born Free Foundation has underlined its commitment to save Africa’s lions from extinction.
Will Travers OBE, President and CEO of Born Free Foundation, who was part of the team in Meru, said: “My mother, Virginia McKenna, and I were recently in Meru, one of the most striking and under-appreciated parks in Kenya. To see the dedication of Kenya Wildlife Service, our Born Free team, our colleagues from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and the members of the local community, was inspiring. Africa’s lions are in trouble but we are all working hard to make sure that in Meru their future can be secured.”
Tim Oloo, Country Manager for Born Free Kenya, added: “The data we have obtained from the census will allow Born Free Foundation, working with KWS, to build informed programmes to help conserve and protect lions. We’re going to save the Meru lions!”
Good News For Africa’s Lions
Amid years of conservation efforts and challenging battles against the menace of poaching, the recent survey showed encouraging outcomes. Scientists believe that the estimated number of lions in the park is encouraging as well.
Scientists assert that Meru is a vital and viable lion stronghold. If all will work together to protect the area, lions will thrive for decades to come. The park is being restored after much of its wildlife was almost wiped out in the 1970s and 1980s by heavy poaching.
Lions in Africa are in Trouble
Born Free Foundation says the lions are in serious trouble. Thirty years ago, there were around 80,000 lions in Africa. Now, there are thought to be as few as 20,000 lions remaining across the region.
The Number of lions across Africa has declined by 60% or more over the past 21 years. Experts say that international demand for lion bones and body parts, combined with unsustainable lion trophy hunting operations and growing evidence of lion poaching, are culprits to this downward spiral.