Five of Africa’s leading eco-tourism operators have joined forces to launch the Lionscape Coalition – an initiative that aims to secure a future for Africa’s lions and their landscapes.
Four competing operators – &Beyond, Conservation Travel Foundation by Ultimate Safaris, Singita and Wilderness Safaris – have partnered with the Lion Recovery Fund. “The initiative taken by the Lionscape Coalition’s founding partners to look past their business imperatives and collaborate sends a powerful message that conservation is part of good business. Collectively, &Beyond, Conservation Travel Foundation by Ultimate Safaris, Singita and Wilderness Safaris boast more than 100 years of positive conservation and community impact and work across ten African countries,” said Paul Thomson from the Wildlife Conservation Network, which manages the Lion Recovery Fund (LRF).
He adds that “with a unique ability to inspire and inform travellers about the threats faced by these magnificent cats – and the habitat they need to survive – Africa’s eco-tourism industry can play a pivotal role in bringing them back, which is why we are thrilled to launch this exciting new partnership”.
Each member of the Coalition has made an annual philanthropic investment into the LRF: half of the amount contributed will go toward projects in countries in which the member operates; and the other half utilised at the discretion of the LRF’s Granting Committee. In this way, these ecotourism companies are making a direct contribution to lion conservation beyond the boundaries of their direct areas of operation.
The LRF’s vision is to see wild lion numbers double by 2050. By engaging guests before, during and after their safaris about the threats and opportunities for lion conservation, Lionscape Coalition members aim to generate additional funding in support of the LRF’s goals, with 100% of all donations received channelled directly to projects on the ground.
The strategy is threefold:
- Expand conservation coverage by increasing the extent and effectiveness of the management of ‘lionscapes’ across Africa;
- The building of public, political, and philanthropic will, creating a collective intent across the spheres of governments, non-profit organisations, philanthropists and the general public;
- The scaling of funding, elevating the amount of funding available for the conservation of lions and their landscapes.