by Chris Weston
Can you imagine africa without lions? Of course not – no one can. The lion, the magnificent king of beasts, is the embodiment of Africa. Yet lion populations have fallen by an appalling 40 per cent in the last 20 years. If this pattern is allowed to continue, the nightmare of an Africa without lions could become a reality in less than two generations.
This is the catastrophe that Andrew Conolly and his team at ALERT – the African Lion and Environmental Research Trust – are determined to avoid. From his base at Antelope Park in the Zimbabwean Midlands, he has embarked upon a meticulously researched and carefully carried-out programme of releasing captive-bred lions into the wild. Some call it madness, some call it genius: Conolly doesn’t care – what matters is that it may be the last chance of saving this magnificent creature for our grandchildren.
The companion book to the second ITV series of the same name, Lion Country is the gripping story of one of ALERT’s ‘release prides’. With intimate photographs of the lions themselves, a knowledgeable text and contributions from the series’ presenter David Youldon, Chris Weston explains the background to the ALERT programme and how it is linked to other conservation efforts across Africa. He details the history and mythology that turned lions into the ‘king of beasts’ in all our minds, and the complex social structure that makes them unique among cats. And finally, he shows how the ALERT lions are reared in preparation for their release and follows them on their great adventure into the wild. There has never been a ‘lion book’ quite like Lion Country.
A photo-led, highly- readable volume relating the lives of these giant mammals.
Informative text and stunning photographs gives an insight into the complex, yet well ordered, lives of elephants from around the world. With their huge ears, white tusks and highly adaptable trunk elephants are perhaps the most easily recognised animals on earth and undoubtedly hold a special place in people’s hearts. The authors take the reader on a journey inside the animal’s habitats and explores efforts to conserve them for future generations.