Declining Lion Populations – The Porini Eco-Tourism Solution and a New, Exclusive Lion Research Safari Holiday in Kenya
Gamewatchers Safaris are offering an exclusive lion research safari holiday allowing you to help with lion conservation work in Kenya and a stay at the award winning Porini Lion Camp.
The ongoing struggle for lions to exist against the twin threats of poaching and a diminishing habitation has been brought to international attention through two films – The Last Lions and African Cats.
The Last Lions is a National Geographic production which addresses the sobering statistic that there are roughly only 20,000 lions left in the wild in Africa. To put this into perspective, 50 years ago the numbers were close to 500,000, so today’s figure of 20,000 represents a horrifying drop in numbers of approximately 96% – the main cause of the decline in numbers being due to poaching activity. Filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert are passionate on the subject and set out a very strong case to have lions protected by governmental and international accords in the same way that other endangered species such as the elephant are protected. The couple cite the fact that the eco-tourism industry benefits to the tune of billions of pounds each year which should bring with it the moral and financial imperative to protect the animals that tourists want and expect to see.
The Disneynature production African Cats is a sympathetic portrayal of the difficulties facing lions and other big cats and serves to raise awareness of the subject to a wider audience – especially among children (the film carries a U certificate).
Both films underline the necessity and the urgency of the work currently being carried out at the Porini Camps in Kenya.
Porini safari camps are at the spearhead of the conservation of wildlife. Interaction with local communities is crucial to their success. Porini lease farmland from the Maasai tribes in Kenya and allow the vegetation to recover from over grazing and farming and to become restored as part of the lions’ wider natural habitat. It’s a business model that benefits all parties. The Maasai are employed as wardens and guides as an alternative to farming: Porini safaris benefit from their wealth of local knowledge and tracking skills and the wildlife benefits as poaching is no longer financially attractive because the average wage earned at the camp is 5 times the national average.
Restoring land to its natural state is just part of the conservation work Porini is committed to. Visitors to the camps wanting to contribute to the safeguarding of the area and its wildlife for the future have the unique opportunity of some hands on conservation work.
The Porini Lion Research Safari is an activity in which visitors can become involved. Led by Kenyan national Shivani Bhalla working for her PhD at Oxford University, the research has as its aim to map the lions movement in the wild; the level of lion-human conflicts and the real threats and issues facing their numbers. This is no ‘lip-service’ to research. Visitors may be involved in some or all of the following: Tracking collared lions, visiting local schools and homesteads to promote wildlife conservation with films; collate information through questionnaires; Patrol with the Ewaso scouts to record predator numbers and identify spoor tracks and take part in early morning and evening game drives monitoring and recording population densities.
Results from this extremely valuable research will be used to formulate the future strategy for the long-term conservation of the lion population in the region.
During your stay you will spend 2 nights at Joys Camp in Shaba National Reserve and 3 nights at Sasaab Camp in Samburu followed by 3 nights at Porini Lion Camp within the exclusive Olare Orok Conservancy bordering the Maasai Mara National Reserve.
The research project will also benefit financially as 5% of the 9 day safari cost is donated to its continuation.
This exclusive safari is available to book with Gamewatchers Safaris and prices start from £3792pp for 8 nights accommodation and internal flights between camps.
This news came from a press release by the lodge and thus is not considered unbiased. One way to tell a real research project from a scam is the presence of cubs. If they are breeding big cats and letting the public feed them, pet them or pose with them, you can be sure that it is not a legitimate facility. No one allows the public anywhere near cats who are destined to be returned to the wild and lions and tigers are not bred for release in any legitimate program.