Biz-Community (Cape Town)

South Africa: Lion Encounter and Alert Partner With Greenpop

Through their "Trees for Zambia" project, Cape Town-based social enterprise Greenpop aims to fight the deforestation in the Livingstone area. The goals of this project are to plant indigenous trees in protected national parks and concessions, plant fruit trees at schools, educate the local community about the importance of trees, and develop micro tree-nurseries that will give local community members an additional revenue - and that will give trees a direct value.

The initial three-week campaign in July will see over 5 000 trees planted with the help of around a hundred international volunteers. After the initial project, Greenpop will establish a permanent base in Livingstone and continue the planting and education programs on a smaller scale.

Securing future of African lion

Lion Encounter, a Livingstone-based conservation programme that allows travellers to encounter lion cubs in their natural environment, is assisting Greenpop by sharing its contacts and networks, offering logistical support, and offering knowledge of local area.

On top of this, David Youldon, the chief operating officer of Lion Encounter's partner ALERT (African Lion and Environmental Research Trust), will be one of the speakers at Greenpop's event in July. Youldon, who is the host of the ITV series Lion Country, will speak about wildlife conservation in general, lion conservation in specific, and the relationship between wildlife conservation and deforestation in Africa.

Lion Encounter is a conservation programme dedicated to ensuring a secure future for the African lion. The program operates the African Lion Rehabilitation and Release into the Wild Programme in partnership with ALERT, which aims to ethically re-introduce the offspring of captive-bred African lions back into the wild.

Communities must unite

"Recent estimates of African lion populations have shown an 80-90% decline in the 30 years to 2002," says Nicola Leach, Lion Encounter's general manager.

"Lion populations have continued to decline since then, often at an increasing rate. Lion Encounter is an active conservation project that is passionate about saving this magnificent species."

"We believe that the challenges facing Africa can most effectively be met by uniting community and policy makers with conservation managers, researchers and business leaders. This union ensures that both present and future generations will be able to enjoy the benefits of Africa's environment, by integrating the protection of natural habitats with economic and social development. Our partnership with Greenpop emphasizes this, and shows how when great organisations and great people partner, great things happen," Leach concludes.

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