August 10 is observed as World Lion Day to raise awareness about the plight faced by lions, known as the king of the jungle, and the need to conserve the most popular animal species. Due to poaching and hunting, the number of lions in the world shrunk to over 50,000. The major objective of World Lion Day is to preserve the existing lion population. It was in 2013 that World Lion Day was observed for the first time.
Meanwhile, India has been registering a steady increase in number of lions over the last few years.
On the special day for the big wild cats, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lauded all those who are working towards lion conservation.
In a tweet, the Prime Minister said;
“World Lion Day is an occasion to celebrate the majestic lions that captivate our hearts with their strength and magnificence. India is proud to be home to the Asiatic Lions and over the last few years there has been a steady rise in the lion population in India. I laud all those working towards protecting the habitat of lions. May we continue to cherish and protect them, ensuring they thrive for generations to come.”
World Lion Day was first established in 2013 by Big Cat Rescue, the world’s largest accredited sanctuary dedicated to lions and it was co-founded by Dereck and Beverly Joubert, a husband-and-wife team who recognised the need to draw attention to the declining lion populations and the threats they were facing in the wild. In 2009, the Jouberts approached “National Geographic” and formed a partnership with them to come up with the Big Cat Initiative (B.C.I.).
Later in 2013, they began the initiative to bring together both National Geographic and the Big Cat Initiative under a single banner to protect the remaining big cats living in the wild and since then, World Lion Day is observed annually on August 10 to raise awareness about the conservation issues faced by the lions and to celebrate the beauty and significance of these iconic big cats.
World Lion Day plays a vital role in rallying support and action to ensure a future for these remarkable animals in the wild by shining a spotlight on lions and their conservation needs. There is an urgent need for their conservation hence, the day aims to educate people about the importance of lions in ecosystems and their cultural significance.
On World Lion Day, lions and their unique qualities are celebrated through art, photography and cultural events while many organisations, wildlife conservation groups, zoos and individuals participate in activities and campaigns or use this day to raise funds for lion conservation projects, anti-poaching efforts, habitat protection and research initiatives. Workshops, seminars, webinars and public talks are often organised on this day to provide information about lions, their behaviour, threats and conservation strategies.