Friday, October 30, 2015

Decline of Lions in West Africa


Think of lions and think of Africa and India. Lions have become an integral part of the African culture and ethos. They are so synonymous with Africa, so woven into their cultural fabric that, to think of them becoming extinct from West Africa is news that comes and hits you hard, really hard. With predictions that they can become extinct in some 50 years, it is time to wake up and realize the graveness of it all. We see them in documentaries, in films, in books. Mention of Africa is incomplete without a mention of Lions.

And in the midst of all this, man progresses. Man’s progress is Lion’s destruction. Man builds, farms, usurps land, they do all but do not protect. And when they hear of lion’s sudden disappearance, their extinction, they come up with steps to show that they care.

While increasing farming and cultivating land seems to be the main factor for this, it is also true that West African nations are among the poorest and funding initiatives are hard to get implemented. Radical steps need to be taken and it will need a Herculean effort on the part of Government and communities to do this. Perhaps it will take international communities to see the problem and help the impoverished nations to fund for saving the lions. Or perhaps they can get a cue from the success of Gujarat, where the lion population soared and thrived. It may have been because of local people’s active participation in conservation efforts and tolerance to the lions or better management of local communities and wildlife land, but the results are there for all to see. But, while we are alarmed at this news, the population of lions in South and East Africa is alarmingly healthy and prospering!!

So let’s hope that lions thrive in these West African states and do not get declining with every passing year.