White Lion Conservation
What we really hope is that our white lion's will bring attention and awareness to the plight of lion populations in the wild. The African lions range extends from south of the Sahara Desert to South Africa, except the Congo, and, at altitudes ranging from sea level to as high as 16,400 ft. Their habitat varies from the grasslands of east Africa to the sands of the Kalahari Desert. Lions are listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. There has been a 30% to 50% decline of wild lion populations over the past two decades and this decline will continue if conservation efforts are not put in place.
They may be the King of the Beasts, but they are in great danger from their only enemy: HUMANS. Lions are losing ground to people in Africa. With less and less land and prey available to them, they sometimes resort to killing livestock. To protect their livestock, farmers shoot and poison the lions. Disease (feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), bovine tuberculosis, canine distemper), spread by domestic animals, is also having a negative effect on wild lion populations. And sadly, the hunting of lions for "sport" is still encouraged as a revenue producing industry by many African governments.
Regional conservation strategies have been developed for lions in west and central Africa and eastern and southern Africa. These strategies include reducing lion-human conflict, and to conserve and increase lion
habitat and wild prey base. The Toronto Zoo is part of the Species Survival Program (SSP) for lions, which focuses on establishing a genetically healthy captive population and at the same time working on conservation programs in the wild.