Lions are the biggest draw card for tourists to Africa. Without these majestic animals, I foresee a collapse of the economy. Sadly, the local communities will be the first to struggle and possibly the worst affected.
Marnus Roodbol, Walking for Lions
Imagine the African continent without the lion, its wild jungle king; it wouldn’t be Africa at all. Sadly, the reality of a “lionless” continent is on the brink of becoming reality, with Africa’s lions facing major threats to their existence – mainly due to conflict with humans. If we don’t act soon, it might be too late.
In comes Marnus Roodbol, a young man with a mighty dream and a beautiful vision: to walk for Africa’s wild lion population. “The continent’s lion population has shrunk by 75 per cent in the past two decades, according to wildlife experts. They are currently vulnerable on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) list of threatened species. In west and central Africa lions are classified as endangered. The facts are that lions are declining at such a pace and we will have none left in a few years.”
The Walking for Lions team started marching from Windhoek on 4 May, aiming to cover 30 kilometres by foot each day and reaching Ghanzi in Botswana about 532 kilometres later.
Says Marnus, “The world is in need of people who care… This is my dream, and a dream that I would like to become our reality and this can only be achieved with the help of those willing to assist. Walking for Lions can only move forward if people are able to put aside a small amount of time, funds and efforts, to help save one of the most iconic species of all time.” Volunteers from the Harnas Wildlife Foundation in Namibia and Cheetah Conservation Botswana are expected to join the march for a few days. Topics such as poaching, canned hunting, the lion bone and fur trade, lion consumption, lion mitigation methods, and volunteering will be amongst the topics discussed.
All the funds raised by Walking for Lions will be used to support various lion conservation and research projects throughout Africa, all with a similar dream to save the continent’s last wild remaining lions.
Marnus and his pride are currently walking in the area of Gobabis in eastern Namibia, from where they will be crossing over to Botswana to finish in Ghanzi by 22 May. Get in touch with Marnus and Walking for Lions at www.walkingforlions.org and stay up to date with regular lion conservation talks on their Facebook page and Twitter @WalkingForLions, recorded while they walk. Don’t talk, just walk!
Get clued up: some shocking lion facts: