I remember how, on my first trip to eastern Africa 37 years ago, we saw lions aplenty. I can actually recall by the beginning of my second week on that three week trip, hearing others in the group bemoaning the sight of yet another group of lion . . . 'Oh, just more lions! How about a leopard?' Little did we know.
It is disturbing to me to watch reports on TV and read in print of this massive attack on the lions of Africa and I continue to look for ways to make a difference. Recently at a gathering here at my house, artist and collector friends were discussing this very issue and trying to come up with some ideas of how we might help to get the word out. Perhaps by my bringing this work, when completed, to the upcoming Waterfowl Festival next month, I will have an opportunity to talk to those enjoying the Festival, and make as many others as possible aware of what is happening to the lion in the hope that a broader awareness might help to change the current course of events and save this majestic animal from possible devastation.
The 'King' does indeed sit in a precarious position.
As I read just this morning in an on line posting . . .
Lion population down almost 90 per cent from two decades ago.
In the minds of many people, the lion is what comes to mind first when they think of African wildlife. The sad fact is, the 'king of beasts' may not be found in Africa for much longer.
Dr. Laurence Frank, a wildlife biologist from the University of California, says that based on a study he did in Kenya, the current population of lions is 23,000. Twenty years ago, it was close to 200,000.
Frank says "People know about elephants, gorillas and rhinos, but they seem blissfully unaware that these large carnivores are nearing the brink. It's not just lions. Populations of all African predators are plummeting."
Dr Frank blamed the decline in predator numbers on a problem that occurs world wide, not just in Africa. People killing them to protect livestock.
"People have always killed predators," he says. "But there's only so much damage you can do with spears and shields. Now everyone has got rifles and poisons."