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World Lion Day!  I have been wondering what to write today. I find it hard to focus on just one day when every day is lion day, every day is a  continual fight for the landscapes that hold lions, their prey and the communities who are trying to live with them. Today social media will be full of pictures of lions, we see them in films from nature documentaries to The Lion King, we see them in statues, in stories, in art and theatre all the time. Some are lucky enough to see them for real in protected areas across Africa. 
When I was on a virtual reality ride at Disney recently over the African savanna, I was left with a sense of uneasiness.  It was so real, so thrilling. What if this was all that was left of wild places? What if people preferred these rides to real life; no malaria and tsetse, more exciting, no carbon emissions to get to Africa, less expensive? Would they still care what happens across the world?  Can people care about something they don't experience?  Because it matters, this is not about one species, it is about the landscapes in which they live, their prey, their parasites, the woodland, the savanna, the grass, the plants, the soil, the clean water and the people who share the landscapes with them in Africa. There are only  an estimated 20,000 wild lions left  in Africa today.  If they are gone, the landscapes will be emptier, but also poorer and more dysfunctional. It will have consequences for ecology, for the economy of the range states that still support them and consequences for people.  Our team today, that works for a lion conservation project  work on alternative livelihoods,  providing scholarships, sharing revenue from ecotourism, reducing conflict, vaccinating chickens, measuring fish (that provide a valuable source of protein), pulling out snares,  supporting research and media etc. It is all about lions and yet none of it is about lions - it is about wilderness, and landscapes and finding ways for people and wildlife to live today. So it is not just Lion Day - because lions without their wilderness  and their landscapes are lost. #lionday #lionrecovery #conservation #landscapes
World Lion Day! I have been wondering what to write today. I find it hard to focus on just one day when every day is lion day, every day is a continual fight for the landscapes that hold lions, their prey and the communities who are trying to live with them. Today social media will be full of pictures of lions, we see them in films from nature documentaries to The Lion King, we see them in statues, in stories, in art and theatre all the time. Some are lucky enough to see them for real in protected areas across Africa. When I was on a virtual reality ride at Disney recently over the African savanna, I was left with a sense of uneasiness. It was so real, so thrilling. What if this was all that was left of wild places? What if people preferred these rides to real life; no malaria and tsetse, more exciting, no carbon emissions to get to Africa, less expensive? Would they still care what happens across the world? Can people care about something they don't experience? Because it matters, this is not about one species, it is about the landscapes in which they live, their prey, their parasites, the woodland, the savanna, the grass, the plants, the soil, the clean water and the people who share the landscapes with them in Africa. There are only an estimated 20,000 wild lions left in Africa today. If they are gone, the landscapes will be emptier, but also poorer and more dysfunctional. It will have consequences for ecology, for the economy of the range states that still support them and consequences for people. Our team today, that works for a lion conservation project work on alternative livelihoods, providing scholarships, sharing revenue from ecotourism, reducing conflict, vaccinating chickens, measuring fish (that provide a valuable source of protein), pulling out snares, supporting research and media etc. It is all about lions and yet none of it is about lions - it is about wilderness, and landscapes and finding ways for people and wildlife to live today. So it is not just Lion Day - because lions without their wilderness and their landscapes are lost. #lionday #lionrecovery #conservation #landscapes