Habitat loss, poaching for body parts used in traditional medicine in Asia and Africa, killing in response to livestock losses, reduction of prey base
Once thought to be impervious to the poaching threats that decimated cats like tigers and leopards, lions numbers have dwindled from 200,000 a century ago to 24,000 today. To advance conservation efforts for the king of beasts, Naples Zoo invests in two programs with proven success to protect lions including funding the annual salaries of field staff.
african people and wildlife
African People & Wildlife reduces the conflict between carnivores and people through innovative solutions that balance science and technology with traditional knowledge. Naples Zoo supports their work to protect the cheetahs, lions, and other wildlife around Tarangire National Park and to benefit the communities who live there.
"The Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is a valued partner of African People & Wildlife in our efforts to ensure the long-term survival of cheetahs and other big cats. With an estimated 7,100 cheetahs remaining in the wild today, we must all work together to protect this vulnerable species through education and field-based initiatives.”
Laly Lichtenfeld, Ph.D.
Co-Founder & Executive Director
African People & Wildlife
Their Living Walls are environmentally-friendly corrals that last longer and are more effective than traditional thorn corrals at protecting livestock. Community members plant a circle of trees that serve as posts for chain-link fencing. As the trees grow, they add height to the wall and create an impenetrable barrier that prevent attacks with a 99% success rate.
“Lions are iconic species, but few people realize how threatened they are. There are now as few lions left in the wild as rhinos. Zoos can play a vital role in raising awareness of this issue, and generating funds for critically needed conservation work. Naples Zoo is a great example of this in action, and through their support, they are improving the future not only for lions but also for the people who live alongside them.”
Dr. Amy Dickman
Co-Director, Lion Landscapes
10% of Africa's Lions Live in One Landscape
One of the strongholds for lions in Africa is Ruaha National Park in Tanzania. To equal Ruaha National Park’s size, you need to combine Everglades, Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, and Yosemite National Parks! To conserve this land, Lion Landscapes reduces human-carnivore conflict and develops other research-based conservation strategies. Naples Zoo is grateful to be able to support these efforts to save lions in this important landscape as a Silver Champion. Naples Zoo funds the annual salary of five staff members including the Human-Wildlife Conflict Program Officer and four Lion Extension Officers (LEOs).
To reduce retaliatory killing of lions, the project helps predator-proof livestock enclosures and trains former lion-killers to become Lion Defenders. To encourage conservation, villages which maintain lions and other wildlife on their land receive community benefits, focused on education, healthcare, and veterinary medicine. Working together, the project has succeeded in decreasing carnivore killings by 80%.
“The approach is always to work together with the community, rather than impose our own ideas.”
Dr. Amy Dickman