WHERE THE LION WALKED
A 25,000 km journey to understand what the future holds for the ‘King of the jungle’
We have lost more then 90% of the lion population in the last 20 years. It is estimated
that there are fewer lions left in the wild than rhinos.
‘Where the Lion Walked’ is a book written in 1991 by well-known conservationist Gareth
Patterson. Gareth went on a life-changing expedition to explore the future of the lion
and the shrinking African wilderness. His journey took him through the rapidly changing
continent of Africa – particularly the Southern and Eastern regions.
During his journey Gareth spent time with the infamous George Adamson, British wildlife
conservationist and author. George and his wife, Joy, are best known through the
movie Born Free and best-selling book with the same title, which is based on the true
story of an orphaned lioness cub they had raised and remarkably were able to
successfully reintroduced back into the wild.
Wildlife Warriors AfriKa believes retracing the steps walked by Gareth some 30 years
ago will gain information vital to the future of the world’s lion population – comparing
the then and the now. The journey will take WWA through 8 African countries - South
Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and finally ending in
Gareth’s conviction regarding the value of the wilderness and his findings of how
vulnerable this incredible species had become to man’s depredations will be key to the
research on this journey.
Census information gathered will include numbers in populations, gender splits, and
pride distribution particularly in key locations.
Research will include data and statistics gathered from on-location conservationists
encountered during the expedition and importantly discussions and stories shared in the
The future of our lion is hanging in the balance. South Africa, shockingly considered a
top destination for trophy hunting of captive-bred lions, is the world’s largest legal
exporter of lion bones and skeletons, with currently around 6,000 to 8,000 lions held in
captivity in more than 200 breeding facilities across the country.
In 2017, the South African government approved an export quota of 800 lion skeletons
from captive-bred lions, nearly 98% of which went to Laos and Vietnam. In July 2018
this figure was alarmingly increased to an export quota of 1500 skeletons.
The false belief that restricting the ongoing demand for lion bones means that those
seeking bones will simply find alternative sources, through illegal access to stockpiles, or
by poaching both wild and captive lions has remarkably been proven inaccurate. From
past experience, and South Africa’s tumultuous history with poaching, namely of rhino,
we know that illegal supply chains are extremely difficult to curb and that the
legalization to trade in rhino horn has far from decreased the number of rhino poaching
incidences in 2018.