NEW YORK (June 30, 2016) — A year ago this week, the illegal killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe galvanized international outrage against an American trophy hunter, and a new awareness of the plight of the African lion. Beyond Cecil: Africa’s Lions in Crisis published today by Panthera and WildAid, with Oxford University’s WildCRU, exposes the gravest threats that, one year later, place the African lion in an ever tighter race against extinction, and outlines a roadmap to save the species.
In a new partnership, Panthera and WildAid launched an online campaign today coinciding with the report, one that calls upon the global community to "Stand with Africa to Let Lions Live” at LetLionsLive.org.
Over the past two decades, the African lion population has declined by an estimated 43%, with only 20,000 lions remaining across the entire continent. Habitat loss, bushmeat poaching and conflict with livestock owners are the primary killers of Africa’s lions today. Compared to trophy hunting, these threats combined are estimated to kill 5-10 times as many lions each year.
In 2004, photographer Bryant Austin floated on the surface of the South Pacific observing a humpback whale and her calf. The five-week old, two-ton calf left his mother and glided within five feet of Austin, close enough that he put down his camera. The calf gracefully swam around him, giving the photographer his first close encounter with a whale.
From his book Beautiful Whale, Austin says, “For the first time, I could see the true colors, fine details, and subtle tones of the humpback whale; all of the elements that make them real. I never would have dared to swim this close to a whale. I wouldn’t even have imagined the prospect of photographing a whale that approached me within five feet on his own terms.”
Thus, this young whale and his mother inspired a seven-year journey to capture life-size images of whales and encourage people to protect them from human threats before they become extinct.
We are so grateful to everyone who donated for our World Oceans Day challenge! WildAid raised a total of $100,000 to support our marine program in Ecuador and endangered sea turtles thanks to a generous matching gift! All proceeds will support marine protection in Ecuador and its endangered marine species.
Cathay Pacific today joined over 30 other global passenger airlines in banning the carriage of all shark fin cargo. We are delighted and applaud Cathay for taking this positive step. By imposing a 100% total ban with immediate effect, Hong Kong's flag carrier has shown it is serious about protecting sharks and our global marine ecosystem.
Today, WildAid’s 5 To Do Today climate action campaign, in partnership with the Chinese Nutrition Society kicked off a new campaign focused on reducing meat consumption in China, which is currently expected to rise by 50% by 2030.