During advertisements for last month’s remake of “The Lion King”, it was shown that Disney and National Geographic have joined up to form a movement called “Protect the Pride.” And, for good reason: Mufasa and Simba’s real life counterparts need our help. According to the World Wildlife Fund, there are only 20,000 lions left in Africa, which is a sharp drop from their initial 200,oo. While not endangered, lions are listed as “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List, mainly due to habitat loss, and both legal and illegal hunting. Not only are they hunted for trophies, lions are also hunted for their bones, which are believed to have medicinal properties.
Lion habitats are also being fragmented into smaller pockets, to make room for farms. This could also bring them into conflict with farmers, when, due to a lack of natural prey, such as wildebeest or zebra, lions are forced to hunt cattle and goats. Our state’s zoos partake in efforts to protect lions in the wild, and we must support that.
We must also try to raise money to help preserve lion habitats, and try to put an end to the illegal wildlife trade. This way, we can make sure that the king of the beasts retains his crown.
Thomas Miller Huffman, Lima