Some of you will remember the original Disney movie, The Lion King, which was a huge hit and even went on to become a stage play. It touched the hearts of millions and the songs were sung by a new generation of Disney fans perhaps only rivalled by The Jungle Book. So it should come as no surprise that there has been a remake some 25 years later. In keeping with the progress in animation this new look is far less Disney and far more realistic. In keeping with the real life threat to lions it seems that some clever people have thought to add an element to all this furore around a movie (let’s face it, just entertainment) and remind the world of the plight of Africa’s lion population.
Reading all the promotional material, the greatest shock to me was that;
- Since Disney’s The Lion King was first released in theaters 25 years ago, we have lost half of Africa’s lions. Only 20,000 remain from a population of 200,000 a century ago. The time to act is now.
It seems such a short time; we have been singing Hakuna Matata (No worries) for 25 years when we should have been worrying deeply.
So what’s the deal with this new initiative? How can a movie really help wild lions?
Well if you visit the Disney site disney.com/LionKingProtectThePride you will read that Disney has already donated 1.5 million US$ to The Lion Recovery Fund lionrecoveryfund.org who are tasked with providing grants to both big and small lion conservation projects across Africa. More funding is earmarked from Disney that will be generated from ticket sales, retail and other public contributions so we can all get involved.
The Lion Recovery Fund (LRF) was created by the Wildlife Conservation Network in partnership with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to double the number of lions in Africa, regaining those lions lost over the past 25 years. In recovering lions, the LRF also aims to restore the health of their landscapes and all that they provide for local people and wildlife. The LRF sends 100% of donations directly to projects that conserve lions, investing in the best ideas for lion recovery, and supporting projects beyond any singular country across lions’ entire range.
Snapshot Serengeti was born out of research undertaken by the Serengeti Lion Project so lions are dear to our hearts. Lions also feature across many other Snapshot Safari projects and so we are spreading the word alongside Disney encouraging our followers to do what they can for lion conservation. If the movie doesn’t appeal then helping scientist directly by taking part in classifying camera trap images is a great way to participate at: https://www.zooniverse.org/organizations/meredithspalmer/snapshot-safari
As we approach the 19th July release date there should be lots of stuff in the media but before then Snapshot Safari will be launching an all new mobile app so keep your eyes open for that.