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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Lion prides roam around ol Donyo Lodge, Chyulu Hills, Kenya

Dereck Joubert, founder of the Great Plains Foundation and the Big Cats Initiative (BCI) along withRichard Bonhamco–founder of the Big Life Foundation, have announced that a steady increase in lion population in Kenya’s greater Amboseli–Chyulu Hills conservation area has resulted in consistent sightings of this crucial predator by guests of ol Donyo Lodge.

Two lion prides, 13 lions, have returned to the Chyulu Hills of Kenya, a large conservation area with a view ofMount Kilimanjaro, the highest free–standing mountain in the world, known as “The House of God.”

Seven years ago there was a near loss of lions in the region, once famous for abundant wildlife and the largest tusked elephants in the world. Big Life, founded in 2010 with photographer Nick Brandt, was the first organization in Africa with coordinated anti–poaching operations. Big Life, led by Bonham, worked together with local rangers and the Maasai people to save the lions.

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Great Plains Conservation’s CEO and filmmaker Dereck Joubert, partner in ol Donyo Lodge, founded BCI with his wife, award–winning photographer Beverly Joubert, and the National Geographic Society 5 years ago. One of their goals was to protect the remaining 20,000 lions thought to be in existence in Africa. BCI has currently funded and coordinated 56 big cat projects in 22 countries.
Dereck Joubert remarks: “A hundred years ago we think there were over a million lions. When I was born, maybe 450,000 lions roamed these plains. Today we niggle over if there are 20,000 or 35,000 lions left on the continent and forget to look over our shoulders at history. There have never been as few lions on the planet since 3.5 million years ago, when we think that lions evolved from the early sabre toothed cats.
We evolved because of big cats, and lions were the biggest in the landscape we wanted to dominate. At some stage there was a tipping point where we developed weaponry: spear, arrows, guns, and within a short time, it was the lions that were dancing to our music, not the other way around. We were no longer shaking in our skins at every roar in the darkness.”

Today in September 2014, conservation efforts are working in the Amboseli–Chyulu Hills conservation area, where lions are slowly returning to the land they once roamed. Thank you to those who have supported our appeal to save the fearsome lion!
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