World Lion Day on August 10 aims to raise awareness about the plight faced by lions. Scientifically known as ‘Panthero Leo,’ lions are one of the most well-known and popular animal species out there. They are called the ‘Kings of the Jungle’ due to their arresting and fearsome personalities created by their great bodies and heavy, shiny manes. A lion’s powerful roar is second to none, and it can be heard even five miles away. Owing to the pop culture icons like Simba from “The Lion King”, lions are also loved by children. However, while lions existed in large populations 100 years ago, today, their numbers are just below 50,000 worldwide as a result of poaching and hunting. World Lion Day, therefore, brings attention to this endangered species by raising funds and amping up protective measures.
History of World Lion Day
The first World Lion Day came into being in 2013. It was headed by Dereck and Beverly Joubert, a couple who are passionate about preservation and wild cats. After realizing that lion populations have drastically decreased worldwide, the Jouberts approached “National Geographic” for the brand’s help. Forming a partnership with them, the couple came up with the Big Cat Initiative (B.C.I.) in 2009. The B.C.I.’s main goal would be to protect and preserve the remaining lion species in the world. While aspects like deforestation, climate change, and human intervention may have impacted lion populations, studies have shown that their extremely low numbers may also have to do with ice ages and natural environmental disasters that have led them to becoming secluded in only a few countries of the world, namely India and South Africa. To date, the B.C.I. has made substantial leaps, from getting 150+ grant awards to reducing almost 3,000 threats to 3,000 wild cats to removing 13,000 life-threatening snares.
The lion comes from the ‘Felidae’ family of cats, and it is considered to be an apex predator. It is the second-largest cat weighing around 300 to 600 pounds, with the first being its cousin, the tiger. An average lion’s body is muscular with a short round head and ears, and a tufty tail. Its sex can be identified through its heavy and luscious mane, which are absent on lionesses. Lions also happen to be the only cats who roam around in large groups known as prides. Scientists believe that lions do so because it is easier to catch prey in the wild. Their natural habitats are savannas and grasslands. You will most likely find a pride of lions near water bodies as they strategically wait for prey to come there for a drink and then pounce on them.
World Lion Day timeline
Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish zoologist and botanist, invents ‘Felis Leo’ as the scientific name of lions.
The lion is placed on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to its African population decreasing by 45% since 1990.
Dereck and Beverly Joubert, in partnership with “National Geographic”, start the Big Cat Initiative to save lions.
The B.C.I. announces the first World Lion Day in order to include the world in lion preservation efforts.
World Lion Day FAQs
Why do we celebrate World Lion Day?
We celebrate World Lion Day in order to shed light on the dwindling lion populations of the world. The wild cat is listed under the endangered and vulnerable species list by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
How is World Lion Day celebrated?
World Lion Day is celebrated by vowing to protect lions at all costs. You can reject lion products, donate to protection organizations and promote them in your social circles. You can also use #WorldLionDay on your social media, and change your display picture to that of a lion.
Where do lions live?
Most lions live in Africa, just below the Sahara Desert. A small population, about 5%, also lives in India’s Gir Forest National Park.
How to Observe World Lion Day
Vow to protect lions
No matter how you choose to spend the day, make sure it is worthwhile by vowing to protect lions. Lions are natural predators that are necessary to keep prey populations in check. Apart from such environmental benefits, lions are extremely beautiful and majestic animals that have ruled the pop culture scene for a long time. So, let’s take a vow to be there for them.
Refuse to buy lion products
Whether you are looking to buy a new bag or coat, or any other similar paraphernalia, make sure you know where it is coming from. Refuse to buy lion products (or other animal skin products) to reduce sales and market value.
Donate your assets
Time and money are the most valuable assets you can give in today’s world. Look out for national and international organizations that protect wild cats, and invest in them by donating your money to the cause. If you cannot donate, you can volunteer your time by either helping the organizations with volunteer work or by promoting the organizations in your circles.
5 Facts About Lions That Will Blow Your Mind
Younglings have spots on their skin
Young lion cubs are born with spots on their coats, but these tend to fade away as they grow older.
Manes change over time
A lion’s mane will change color, going from light to dark, as it grows older.
Cubs are raised together
Lion cubs are generally brought up together by all the females in a pride.
Females are mightier hunters
Lionesses are better hunters than their male counterparts, and it is for this reason that they hunt 80% to 90% of the time.
Heavy and long sleepers
Lions will sleep for at least 20 hours a day.
Why World Lion Day is Important
It’s a celebration of lions
For most of us, “The Lion King” was a huge part of our childhood. We rejoiced at the birth of Simba but also grieved with him over his father’s death. Holding such sweet memories and images, we cannot let the beloved animal go extinct. Let’s come together on August 10 to protect lions from all dangers.
It’s a reminder about the importance of preservation
Preservation has become a necessity, more now than ever. We cannot hope to live on a peaceful and resourceful Earth if we keep depleting it of its natural resources, be it water, fuel, or animals. We must preserve and protect the Earth for ourselves as well as future generations.
It’s a celebration of the natural environment
The natural environment has given us countless gifts. From food for taste and survival to medicinal properties to inspiration for technological inventions, nature has continued to reward us since time immemorial. We must therefore honor, respect, and celebrate it.
World Lion Day dates