I Love Lions. Don't You?
June 20, 2014 1:03 PM   Subscribe

Explorer Shivani Bhalla Helps People and Lions Coexist (and in turn helps those people as well) It's articles like this that make me smile. If only there were more arrangements like this for other endangered animals as well.
posted by moonphases (3 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

Dr. Bhalla's project looks truly fantastic! And important! I certainly don't want to downplay how great it is, but I don't know that it's quite as exceptional as the OP paints it. One great thing about ecology and zoology, especially dealing with endangered species, is that many researchers incorporate conservation, development, and public outreach into their research all at the same time. Take a look at the work that, for example, the Jane Goodall Institute is doing, or the gorilla fund, or the folks who work around Kibale National Park. Here is a similar program with lions and Maasai communities

It's an unfortunate reality that many of the animals we're studying right now are suffering from habitat and population decline at the same time as people who live around them are suffering from chronic poverty or regional underdevelopment. If I don't actively engage the people around the forest I work in, keep employing local men (and encourage the employment of local women), and work with school teachers to develop education projects for kids, the national park becomes a place where white people come to watch monkeys, and nobody who actually LIVES THERE has any real stake in it. And then, in another 20 or 30 years rubber and cocoa plantations will encroach on the forest and poachers will reach the core of the forest and study area to such a degree that my moneys - and everything else in the forest - will all be gone. So programs like this are really and truly integral to future scientific research on endangered wildlife, which I think can only be beneficial for both local communities and the ecosystems they are in contact with.
posted by ChuraChura at 2:15 PM on June 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

Tomorrow is the first International World Giraffe Day. All the big animals are in trouble thanks to humans. We humans are the only ones who can help. I suppose the animals facing extinction would be able to recover their numbers if the human race disappeared or human numbers were greatly reduced.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 4:35 PM on June 20, 2014

I like the way this approach directly involves the locals and brings them multiple benefits rather than being something overlaid that has little to do with how the people who live in an area actually live. Seem more likely to have long term success too.
posted by leslies at 7:45 AM on June 21, 2014

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