Through the Viewfinder
And What Alice Found There
On Monday 10th August 2015 we celebrated the annual World Lion Day. This is a day dedicated to celebrating the importance of the lion all over the world, and to raise conservation awareness. These beautiful, majestic creatures are unfortunately experiencing a dramatic decline in population due to a number of factors including habitat loss, decline in prey, pesticides, and hunting. With the recent killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, people have become even more aware of the drastically declining numbers of lions in the wild, and it is sadly getting to the point where they will soon be on the endangered species list. This however might help to save the lion, as being on the list means they will be protected by the Endangered Species Act where the U.S government will actively work to save the species from extinction.
To show my appreciation for World Lion Day I thought I'd share with you some photos I took while visiting Kruger National Park in South Africa earlier this year.
In January and February of this year (2015) I was visiting South Africa as a volunteer in a monkey rehabilitation centre in the Limpopo Province near Letsitele. While we were there we were lucky enough to get the chance to take a 2 day trip to the nearby Kruger National Park. I'm so glad we did the trip - I'd wanted to go on a safari ever since I first watched Disney's Lion King as a child! We set off early morning and drove to the Orpen gate, had a drive around and spotted loads of animals including zebra, wildebeest, impala, baboons, elephants, giraffes, wild dogs and loads more! We then went to set up our camp at the Satara campsite which was really exciting as we were the ones fenced in - not the animals! We then had another drive around in the afternoon and were lucky enough to spot some rhinos as well as hippos and a cheetah! However, we'd still not seen any lions. In the evening we paid to go on a sunset drive with one of the rangers and again we saw loads of animals, mainly what we'd already seen in the daytime, but then we noticed another safari jeep speeding off in the opposite direction to us. On their way past they told us lions had been spotted back that way so we quickly turned around and raced off, hoping we'd get to see them! We arrived at a long stretch of road next to a watering hole (which is locally known as Lion Road apparently!) and we knew the lions must have still been about as there were loads of vehicles pulled up all along the road. And then we saw them - a lioness, a young-looking male, and 2 cubs. It was amazing! I felt so overwhelmed seeing them in their natural habitat, and being so close to them was just unreal! They headed straight towards our jeep down the middle of the road and then the lioness came right down beside us into the grass. I got a few good photos and then she came so close that if I'd leant over the side of the jeep I probably could have touched her! The other 3 lions then came closer on the other side of us and the lioness went to join them. It was fascinating seeing them together as a little family, and the cubs were adorable! Eventually we managed to tear our eyes away and went in search of a leopard that had been spotted further up. We saw the lions again later on still on the road, and then again on our way back we saw them in the distance sitting by a watering hole. I really hope to see wild lions again someday, hopefully a whole pride of them all together!
I hope lions can survive this dip in numbers and pull through to continue roaming wild as the King of the Jungle! It would be such a shame to see them go, like many other species before them sadly have done.
Save the Lions!