Singita has joined forces with three of Africa’s other leading ecotourism operators to launch The Lionscape Coalition. Together with &Beyond, Wilderness Safaris, Conservation Travel Foundation by Ultimate Safaris, Asilia Africa, Dazzle Africa and Great Plains Conservation Singita is working to secure a future for these big cats and their natural habitat.
In just 25 years, our continent’s lion population has dropped dramatically – only 50% of their numbers now roam Africa’s iconic landscapes, which has prompted the IUCN to officially classify them as a “Vulnerable” species. Habitat loss and fragmentation, illegal wildlife trade, bushmeat poaching and human-lion conflict continue to threaten these big cats. In response to the growing threat of extinction and the profound knock-on effect this could have on biodiversity, the Lionscape Coalition was formed. As apex predators, lions are regarded by scientists as an “umbrella” species; if a wild lion population thrives, it means the entire ecosystem around it is functioning effectively. The health and stability of lion populations has a direct impact on the wellbeing of the surrounding wilderness, which makes their conservation an ecological imperative, as well as an economical one, considering the livelihoods which rely on ecotourism for survival.
The horizon for recovery is bright however; as a resilient species, lions will rapidly reproduce if their habitats and prey are protected, if communities are incentivised to co-exist with them and if poaching can be controlled. By prioritising the conservation of wilderness areas in which lions can flourish and creating healthy “lionscapes” which benefit local communities, the decline of the species can be reversed; their populations, and subsequently many other critical species, will recover.
The Lionscape Coalition sees four commercial competitors, who each share the bold vision of the Lion Recovery Fund (LRF) to double wild lion numbers by 2050, collaborate on lion conservation programmes across the continent. Putting all commercial considerations aside, this alliance brings to this initiative over 100 years of positive conservation and community impact throughout Africa.
The strategy of this dedicated initiative focuses on three critical aspects: