Can captive-bred lions contribute to saving the African Lion?

lion conservation in Africa
new lion cubs as part of a conservation project

I can’t imagine a world without the majestic lion.

But given the speed of recent decline, 80-90% since 1975, even in protected areas, some leading conservationists suggest that it is necessary to ensure that there is a back-up plan to complement in-situ conservation efforts.

Estimates of lion population* suggest that only 32,000 lions remain in Africa, and they could become extinct within 10 to 20 years. Sub-populations of lion have already gone extinct in Mali, Malawi, Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Authors of a new scientific journal article, Dr. Jackie Abell of Lancaster University, and African Lion & Environmental Research Trust (ALERT), suggest that lions of captive origin can provide an additional source for reintroduction, recognising that this should be undertaken alongside existing conservation efforts. They recognize that reintroducing lions of captive origin has complications.

If we fail to put a stop to poisonings [Kenya] lions could go extinct in a matter of years” Dr Richard Leakey

Lion Breeding and Release Volunteer in Gweru Zimbabwe
Lion Breeding & Release Volunteering in Gweru Zimbabwe

As part of this effort, David Youldon, co-author and Chief Operating Officer of ALERT, is using a “responsible development approach that encourages African solutions to these African challenges. We released a pride of captive-bred lions into a fenced natural environment in 2010 that are self-sustained and now have cubs that will be old enough to be considered for release into the wild in 2014. A second pride was released in 2011 with the first litter of cubs being born into this pride recently. Studies undertaken by ALERT, and by independent researchers, suggests that both the released captive-bred prides and their semi-wild born cubs are behaving and developing exactly as you would see in a free-ranging lion pride.”

I can’t imagine a world without these majestic creatures roaming around their natural habitats – but they need your help – now!

So, if you would love to be a part of saving the African Lion, please give the Amanzi Travel team a call on +44 (0)117 253 0888 or email

Do something amazing today !

Volunteering with Lions

1 – Volunteer Living with Big Cats – Limpopo, South Africa

2 – Shamwari Conservation Volunteer – Eastern Cape, South Africa

3 – Big Cat & Endangered Wildlife Centre – Hoedspruit, South Africa

4 – Selati Lion & Rhino Tracking Volunteer – Phalaborwa, South Africa

5 – Zambia Lion Project Volunteer – Livingstone, Zambia

6 – Limpopo Wildlife Conservation Volunteer – Hoedspruit, South Africa

7 – Lion, Tiger Conservation & Big 5 Reserve Volunteer – Eastern Cape, Sout Africa

8 – Lion Breeding & Release Volunteer – Gweru, Zimbabwe

9 – Victoria Falls Lion Project Volunteer – Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

10 – Zululand Wildlife Conservation Volunteer – Zululand, South Africa

help save the African Lion with wildlife conservation
Proud lion at Selati


A truly life changing experience, working on wildlife and community volunteering projects in Africa over 15 years ago, convinced Gemma Whitehouse to give up her job as a Marketing Manager for an international organisation and use her skills and expertise to set up a company that would offer others the same amazing opportunities with a service second to none - thus Amanzi Travel was born.

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