To help secure the future of the majestic Asian lion, ZSL conservationists will work in the field in India, collaborating with Indian and international conservation agencies:
Preparing Indian communities around forest expansion
Some of the lions living in the Gir Forest will be encouraged to expand their range into a new area of forest being prepared in the same region of India, to increase numbers and dispersal to minimise the risk of disease or natural disaster wiping out the population. The Gir Forest is at capacity for the 400 lions living there and in recent years more and more lions have started wandering outside the forest into unsafe territory in search of food. ZSL will play a key role in ensuring that a new forest being given protected status is a safe place for the lions to move, by working with local communities who have not previously come into contact with lions. This community engagement will focus on work with schools and womens’ groups.
ZSL has developed leading conservation technology that is currently either in use, or being tested in Africa and Asia. We plan to extend this technology, which allows realtime data to be available directly to forest rangers, to the custodians of the Gir Forest. With this technology, combined with a unique ‘lion hotline’ set up by ZSL, the forest ranger rapid response team will be able to act immediately on problems and maintain the harmony of the forest with the community that lives in and around it.
Providing veterinary training
We will begin a vet exchange programme to train forest rangers and the Gir lion rescue team in the latest and best disease surveillance techniques and veterinary procedures. This will allow them access to cutting edge techniques learned from our zoo breeding populations that can be applied to ensure wild lions can be treated successfully. We will also send our expert vets to India to run accessible veterinary training courses for trainee rangers. In the long term there is potential to assist with a vaccination programme to protect a proportion of the lion population from disease threat.
We will use funds to bring the Gujarat Forest veterinary laboratories up to date, and to provide and maintain essential kit to the forest ranger teams, including vehicles and veterinary equipment.
The Lions400 campaign also incorporates the work of ZSL's world class zoo:
Land of the Lions
Building a breeding facility with combined visitor experience at ZSL London Zoo that will engage and inspire visitors to support us in our bid to save the Asian lion.
Using inventive and original ways to bring the story of the Asian lion and the communities who live in and around the Gir Forest to life, we aim to provide visitors with an exceptional experience that will stay with them long after their visit ends.