Image source: Pixabay
In celebration of the long-awaited Lion King film release, the Lion Recovery Fund (LRF) announced a new collaboration with one of the world’s most valuable brands, Disney, to help recover lions in Africa and create public awareness on lion conservation globally.
Launched in 2017, the LRF was developed by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in partnership with the California-based Wildlife Conservation Network. Leonardo DiCaprio’s multi-faceted foundation is dedicated to the long-term health and wellbeing of all Earth’s inhabitants, including prides in the wild. Their population has seen a drop from 200,000 a century ago to just over 20,000 today.
The new collaboration with Disney will aid the LRF to reach its goal of doubling the number of lions in Africa by the year 2050; a goal the LRF seeks to achieve through efforts that engage communities to ensure a future for African wildlife and their habitats. Uniquely, 100% of every dollar raised will go directly to the partners in the field, with zero administrative fees or overheads. In May, the LRF reached a new milestone of having invested over $5 million as grants to the projects on the ground in Africa.
Since the release of the original Lion King film, Africa has lost half of all lions in the wild over the past 25 years. Besides the native locals, this is new information for the unaware populations outside of the continent, resulting in limited international support to tackle this pressing issue. By capitalizing on one of its most successful music franchises, Disney hopes to urge fans and wildlife lovers around the world to unite and bring forward collaborative investments and actions to restore their landscapes and gain numbers. Research suggests that if the core protected areas in Africa were more effectively managed and the local communities around them supported, the number of lions in existence would be higher by three to four times.
Currently, the fund is involved in numerous projects such as Malawi’s conservation planning, investigating lion distribution and conservation threats in Tanzania’s Selous landscape and securing critical habitat in southern Botswana. As a keystone species, the loss of the lion would have a severe impact on Africa’s wildlife and ecosystems and would trigger enormous ramifications on the continent’s $34 billion eco-tourism industry.