Written by Angie Pyle
On Saturday and Sunday (September 8th – 9th 2012) come and join us at the Houston Zoo. We will be hosting our 2nd annual Lion Fun Days from 10am-3pm.
During Lion Fun Days, guests can enjoy numerous keeper chats, craft stations, and games. Various one of a kind Items will be sold to raise money for the Niassa Carnivore Project. Please plan on visiting the Zoo on September 8th or 9th to learn about how you can help save the African lion.
Why do lions need your help? Unfortunately African Lion populations are dropping at a devastating rate. During the 1950’s there were an estimated 500,000 Lions in Africa. Today they estimate 20-30,000 Lions in all of Africa.
The Niassa Carnivore Project has been working since 2003 exclusively in the Niassa Reserve. Researchers have been tracking animals, vaccinating animals, educating the locals, and working with the locals on how to safely live with Lions. One of the methods for community outreach and education that the project was involved with was “Lion fun days.” The entire Niassa Carnivore project team got together and came up with activities, games, and puzzles for the children of Mbamba, Mozambique to take part in. The idea is to teach the children about the importance of Carnivores in their ecosystem through fun and engaging activities. The children painted animal masks ran relay races, acted out plays; just to name a few of the activities. They also participated in a special eco-system tug of war. ”The majority of people in Niassa believe their lives would be better without lions, elephants and leopards. We wanted to spark some thoughts on what the consequences might be if these animals were all to disappear from Niassa. Would it matter if all the lions or elephants were gone? We divided the children into two teams for a ‘tug of war” using our tow rope with each child representing different elements of the ecosystem – lions, leopards, elephants, honey badgers, eagles, bees, trees, grass flowers, fish, sunlight, rain etc. One side was the reserve and the other an unprotected area. Initially the tug of war was equal but as more and more elements disappeared, some connected to each other resulting in a cascade of effects, the unprotected team started to fall apart while the Reserve team was still strong and pulling together. ” At the end of the day the children bring home solid conservation messages to their parents from these activities and crafts. – Colleen Begg
We organized “Lion fun day” here at the Houston Zoo on November 3rd – 4th of2011 in conjunction with Mozambique’s and it was a great success. American and Mozambique children learned that children around the world are learning about their role in conservation.
So bring your family to the Houston Zoo on September 8th or 9th and help us celebrate and save the African Lion.