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LionAid is proud to be an official partner of skype classroom and we currently offer three lessons which we deliver to schools around the world through skype classroom. We offer classes to children of all ages and beyond to university students.

This is a growing area of our work and we are always delighted to interact with children across the globe about the dangers facing lions and the need for conservation.

Our presentations always include a PowerPoint presentation followed by a generally lively question and answer session. It never ceases to amaze us the intelligence of these youngsters and the huge interest they have in the topics we present. It is always a privilege to “meet” these classes over skype and it often is the case we are asked to return to deliver a second lesson.

We end the lesson by discussing ways in which the class can help spread the word about the dangers facing lions and this is always met with great enthusiasm!

So today, we received a new video, prepared by a class of 10 and 11 year olds in a school just outside Dublin in Ireland. This wonderful class, who we met over skype last week, all agreed to support our “Draw Out The Lion In You” campaign and all the children have created their pictures of lions for us to display in Trafalgar Square next Spring.  Thank you guys and gals – we can’t wait to receive all the pictures through the post.

Click on the video here to see a selection of these exquisite pictures and we are delighted (with their permission) to share them with you today.

Big thank you to Ms  Brennock's 5th Class at St. Molaga's School in Balbriggan.

If your school would like more information or would like to take part in one of our lessons over skype, please email us on for details.


If you have not already signed up to our mailing list, you can add your name here and keep up to date with our ongoing work and, most importantly, DONATE to support our work to conserve the remaining fragile lion populations.





Add a comment | Posted by Chris Macsween at 18:42



Polar bear skin

No more of this in the EU?


The EU Directorate of Environment has now submitted draft changes to the EU Council and Parliament that will require import permits for hunting trophies of the following species:

White rhino
Argali (a mountain sheep from central Asia)

Polar bear

The Council and Parliament are expected to approve the changes before the end of 2014.

As we explained earlier , this gives the EU member states much greater independent control over existing CITES regulations, and allows member states to refuse imports of hunting trophies of those species for which the EU Scientific Review Group is not satisfied that the offtake is sustainable and/or that insufficient information is available about population numbers to justify continued trophy hunting offtake. In addition, existing “negative opinions” arrived at by the EU Scientific Review Group will now carry over to all hunting trophies from those listed species as well.

This greater latitude over imports of what were once items (hunting trophies were considered “household and personal effects”) exempt from trade considerations under CITES is meaningful and encouraging to say the least.

It is highly interesting to us to see inclusion of the Polar bear on this list. As you might remember, during the last CITES Conference of Parties in March 2013, the EU joined the USA and Russia among other nations to support listing of Polar bears on CITES Appendix I. This would have halted all further trade in Polar bears – but ALL EU votes were then nullified by resistance from Denmark (the EU votes as a bloc but all member states need to agree, otherwise the entire EU has to abstain, a loss of 28 votes).

The uplisting of Polar bears was defeated, but now, as with lions, the EU can make decisions independently (and more stringently) than CITES. It will be very interesting to follow the future changes of Polar bear trophies into the EU.

The USA has already banned Polar bear hunting trophies. Within the EU, Denmark (perhaps the reason for their objection) is the largest importer of Polar bear products with 150 skins alone over the five year period 2008-2012 – from a rapidly declining species? Was the information that Denmark had to resist the uplisting based on better information about the status of Polar bears not available to other nations or did the Danes bow to pressure from vested commercial interest groups in their Greenland Dependency?

These sorts of self-interested decisions will hopefully now not be able to influence trade in significantly endangered species by continued commerce, as any EU member state has the right to raise objections to further imports of products from the species now listed. That objection will now need to be dealt with scientifically rather than politically.

The EU Environment Directorate is to be thanked for this positive development, and we urge them to consider the entire issue of “sustainability” of trophy hunting offtake of a greater variety of species in the future.

 The relevant text of the EU is as follows :

“The European Commission has proposed to introduce changes to Commission Regulation 865/2006 and to Commission Implementing Regulation 792/2012.
Those changes are designed to:

introduce the requirement that import permits would need to be issued by EU Member States for the first introduction into the EU of hunting trophies of specimens of six species or populations included in Annex B of Regulation 338/97 (Ceratotherium simum simum, Hippopotamus amphibius, Loxodonta africana, Ovis ammon, Panthera leo, Ursus maritimus);

clarify that import permits should not be issued by EU Member States in cases where, despite a request to this end, they do not obtain satisfactory information from the exporting or re-exporting country as to the legality of the specimens to be imported into the EU.
In accordance with Article 19 of Regulation 338/97, the Committee on wildlife trade has given a favourable opinion to those changes.

The text of the draft Regulation amending Regulation 865/2006 has been subsequently sent to the Council and the European Parliament for their right of scrutiny. Unless the Council or the Parliament objects to the adoption of this Regulation (which can be done within a period of three months after receiving the document), the changes to Regulation 865/2006 will be adopted at the end of 2014. The adoption of the changes to Regulation 792/2012 will occur at the same time.”

Picture credit: 


If you have not already signed up to our mailing list, you can add your name here and keep up to date with our ongoing work and, most importantly, DONATE to support our work to conserve the remaining fragile lion populations.


Add a comment | Posted by Chris Macsween at 17:27

A great meeting with Africat Namibia.

Saturday 18th October 2014

Dad and cub


Yesterday we travelled to London to meet up with Tammy Hoth from Africat Namibia. We spent a very productive couple of hours in the afternoon with Tammy and Carey (from Africat UK) to discuss and share our thoughts on wildlife conservation and to explore ways we can progressively assist each other in the future. I think we all agreed that collaboration between truly concerned wildlife charities is the way forward as we all have valuable knowledge and experiences that can benefit one another. And most certainly, the more we can all stand together to fight those that seem hell-bent on destroying our precious wildlife, the better it will be.

Africat has been working to save the large carnivores of Namibia since 1993. Like LionAid, they strongly believe that we need to engage rural communities if long-term conservation is to succeed in these areas. Our predator/conflict mitigation project in Kenya has overlapping similarities with their programme in Namibia and we are certain we can all benefit from sharing knowledge gained in our respective projects.

Their strapline is “conservation through education” and we certainly have no argument with that!

In the evening, we were delighted to join Africat and Chris Packham at their “Big Cats-Keeping Them Wild” event at the Royal Geographical Society.

It was great to see the event so well supported and Chris entertained us all with his observations on big cats, foxes, wolves and pangolins. He even shared the trauma he went through in search of the perfect wildlife photograph, whist on a visit to Africat in Namibia, a discussion that brought many a chuckle from the audience!

You can learn more about Africat’s work here.


Picture credit: Martin Fowkes


If you have not already signed up to our mailing list, you can add your name here and keep up to date with our ongoing work and, most importantly, DONATE to support our work to conserve the remaining fragile lion populations.


Add a comment | Posted by Chris Macsween at 15:30

Texas Pic  from Brandon and William, aged 7.


Ricky Gervais is, as I write this, working on a fabulous lion painting for us!! Thank you Ricky – you are a gem! His painting will join hundreds of others (you can see all the pictures already received here) when they decorate the plinth of one of the Trafalgar Square lions next Spring.

Why are we doing this? Well, in case you have forgotten, we launched the “Draw Out The Lion In You” initiative on August 10th – World Lion Day to help spread the word that lions need our help - and we have been gathering lion drawings and paintings ever since!
School children from around the world are joining in this campaign and we have already received many wonderful pictures from several schools and more are on their way.

After the event, we will auction Ricky’s painting to the highest bidder to raise much needed funds to help us in our work to save lions.Unless you were lucky enough to catch the glimpse of the part finished painting when he tweeted it last weekend, you will just have to wait to see Ricky’s masterpiece. For those of you who don’t know, he is an accomplished artist.

We still need very many more drawings, sketches and paintings of lions. The lion plinth is enormous and we want to cover every inch with your artwork! Let us make a HUGE impact on the day! Look at this wonderful drawing sent to us from Gareth Patterson, the celebrated wildlife expert. Thank you Gareth! Make sure your lion is there to show the world you care what happens to our remaining lions. 

Gareth Patterson
So, for all those of you who haven’t yet put pen to paper, grab your crayons and let your creative streak shine through! Email us on with your drawings.

NB. if any of you who have already sent in your artwork to us would like your drawing to be featured on one of our LionAid Gift cards, please let us know. We will choose a few designs in the coming days from those who give us their permission.



If you have not already signed up to our mailing list, you can add your name here and keep up to date with our ongoing work and, most importantly, DONATE to support our work to conserve the remaining fragile lion populations. Thank you 

Add a comment | Posted by Chris Macsween at 20:14

Christmas lioness'Tis the season.... well, not quite, but we bet you've been thinking about it.

With that in mind we've come up with the perfect solution for those 'tricky to buy for' family and friends. In fact, it's the perfect solution for anyone who loves wildlife and has a passion for conservation.

This year, why not think about giving a Lion Aid Christmas card? You can send a personalised message which we will include inside and donate a chosen amount on behalf of the recipient towards the conservation of lions in the wild. It's a thoughtful and beautiful gift and will contribute towards a very worthwhile cause.

Follow this link  to our website shop and choose an image you like along with an amount you'd like to donate on behalf of your recipient. Then email me on  with the details of the recipient and a personalised message and we'll do the rest.Christmas lions

If you can't come up with anything we can include ready made ones e.g Seasons greetings to someone who doesn't take poaching lion down or We're not lion when we say we hope you have a very merry Christmas. Anyway, you get the idea!!!! 



Add a comment | Posted by Chris Macsween at 18:32



Plus rubber gloves and troops and healthcare workers


The Guardian newspaper recently published a compendium of the global financial response to the western African Ebola outbreak. It makes interesting reading as to which nations, organizations and NGOs are contributing finances. For example, the UK has pledged £125 million and 750 army personnel, the USA $350 million and 4,000 troops, Malaysia will donate 21 million rubber gloves, Timor Leste has pledged $1 million, Cuba will send 165 health professionals. The Paul Allen Fund donated $18.4 million, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $50 million.

But who is donating anything to prevent the bushmeat trade (the source of the virus) and who is donating anything to discovering what wildlife species are responsible for transmitting the disease to humans?

We are groping in the dark about the source of the virus. Fruit bats and monkeys have been proposed, but not definitively identified. Unless and until the source of the virus is discovered and the bushmeat trade halted with alternatives, all those millions will just put out another fire and not address the source.

And those millions will have to be spent again for the next inevitable outbreak?

Picture credit: 



If you have not already signed up to our mailing list, you can add your name here and keep up to date with our ongoing work and, most importantly, DONATE to support our work to conserve the remaining fragile lion populations. Thank you. 


Add a comment | Posted by Chris Macsween at 16:23


Dangerous to hunters, butchers and consumers

More and more “discussions” and “opinions” and “experts” talking about the Ebola outbreak and international spread on TV and in the newspapers here this morning.

NOT ONE COMMENT about the bushmeat trade that started this outbreak. If you do not discuss the source, how can you talk about a “response”?

And the usual comments by deniers that say that flu and malaria kills many more people than Ebola. Of course that is true – but let’s look at the real statistics – only about 2% of people who get flu die, and those are people usually classified in “high risk” categories like the elderly. And while malaria might kill up to 500,000 people annually it is an entirely preventable disease. And a highly treatable disease – I should know as I have had malaria three times while living in Kenya and Botswana. Ebola is not treatable – and the mortality rate from this western African strain is over 70%.

But it is preventable. Bushmeat is the source and as long as people continue to eat bushmeat there will be future outbreaks. This is guaranteed. As I said in an earlier post we can continue to spend scores of millions by putting out fires or we can address the root causes. The problem is that we STILL do not really know what species are responsible for communicating Ebola to humans.

Fruit bats are now a prime candidate, but that is only because a pathogen closely related to Ebola, Marburg virus, was found among fruit bats. Let’s be very clear here. Monkeys, bats, duikers are all considered potential sources of Ebola. But until the real source is discovered all bushmeat should be considered a likely source of infection.

We also hear little mention of another global scourge that began with bushmeat – HIV-AIDS. There are two broad types of HIV (surprisingly called HIV I and HIV II). Both have been identified to originate from African primates involved in the bushmeat trade.

So let’s stop beating about the bush. You cannot hope to control disease outbreaks by ignoring the source of, in this case, a virus that comes from bushmeat. We should consider all bushmeat as a potentially dangerous product, not only because of Ebola. Unless and until there is much more research by national and international health authorities about the health consequences of eating bushmeat, we should stop using it. 


Picture credit:



If you have not already signed up to our mailing list, you can add your name here and keep up to date with our ongoing work and, most importantly, DONATE to support our work to conserve the remaining fragile lion populations. Thank you.


Add a comment | Posted by Chris Macsween at 14:26

US recreational hunters

No longer welcome in Oz


LionAid congratulates the Australian government for announcing yesterday that it will ban the imports of all lion parts in the near future. This comes on the heels of a similar announcement banning the imports of all rhino parts.

The ban will include lion hunting trophies, and was announced by Minister of Environment Greg Hunt. 

The action resulted from the sponsorship by Jason Wood MP (La Trobe, Victoria) who has been highly critical of canned hunting and the industry in South Africa that supports it. Mr Wood goes even further as he states that:

“I firmly believe we should change the Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to not only to stop imports of canned hunted African lion body parts but stop all species listed under CITES Appendix I, Appendix II, and Appendix III from being imported unless specifically approved by the Minister for the Environment (such as for non-commercial conservation breeding, research or education)” (

This proposal is likely to be controversial , not least because it indicates that Australia would distance herself from CITES regulations and impose much stricter import requirements based on her own biodiversity conservation statutes. Such stricter measures have already been adopted for a number of species by the USA and the EU for example. It might even be construed as a disappointment about CITES’ trade regulations compared to biodiversity conservation necessities and ethical trade requirements. I hope John Scanlon, CITES Secretary General and himself an Australian, is paying close attention.

Picture credit: Rann Safaris


If you have not already signed up to our mailing list, you can add your name here and keep up to date with our ongoing work and, most importantly, DONATE to support our work to conserve the remaining fragile lion populations. Thank you.

Add a comment | Posted by Chris Macsween at 15:25

Good mourning!

Thursday 2nd October 2014

chopped down trees 

Sustainably utilised?


The weather report from LionAid this week – two high pressure areas collided to make our conservation climate forecast stormy and uncertain.

High pressure area 1:

A few days ago, a consortium of wildlife conservation agencies published a report to indicate that their global Living Planet Index (LPI) showed an overall decline of 52% of wildlife populations between 1970 and 2010.

This “analysis” was based on a number of species – terrestrial, marine and freshwater. Some populations declined more than others, especially in freshwater ecosystems highly susceptible to various sources of pollution. Note that it only goes to 2010.

Unusually, this report was mentioned in most of the print media as well as making it to various television news broadcasts. The journalists did not understand the report, but their hype could be positive. Overall I believe the indications of significant declines are acceptable. After all, lions have declined by over 85% in the last 50 years.

But what the media did not mention with sufficient emphasis was that the report also said that “We need 1.5 Earths to meet the demands we currently make on nature. This means we are eating into our natural capital, making it more difficult to sustain the needs of future generations.” Read that carefully, as it indicates very clearly that our current concept of “sustainable utilization” of wildlife resources has actually mined our wildlife and has therefore fallen well short of conservation necessities.

High pressure area 2:

Posed against that report came another high pressure area established by Karmenu Villa, the EU Commissioner designate for Environment, Fisheries and Marine Affairs. Watching his so-called “grilling” by members of EU Parliament (actually a highly orchestrated affair where questions were given one minute and replies two minutes as recorded by a big digital clock – oh, and also all questions seemed to have been provided beforehand) – he was evasive and always the politician.

His standard response was that it was all about sustainable utilization, despite that fact that it would appear that no utilization has been sustainable for many decades and has resulted in our current crisis in terms of conservation of fish, forests, and wildlife.

So where do we go from here?

Two high pressures areas have collided. Sustainable utilization has long proven to be unsustainable except in the opinions of some politicians and vested utilization parties like trophy hunters. We need forward thinking, not policies based on old and failed formulas that do not aid conservation of the few species and populations that remain. Let’s all challenge the performance of the “sustainable” utilization principle that has proven to be beneficial to commerce but not conservation.

Otherwise we will be left with rats, weeds, cockroaches and greenhouse flowers as “nature”.


Picture credit: 



If you have not already signed up to our mailing list, you can add your name here and keep up to date with our ongoing work and, most importantly, DONATE to support our work to conserve the remaining fragile lion populations. Thank you.


Add a comment | Posted by Chris Macsween at 17:40


Thursday 2nd October 2014

Just Go Search new

Just received the above news from JustGoSearch!

Thank you to everyone who has already bookmarked Lion Aid’s search box to the home screen of their mobile devices and used it to search the web.

As you can see above, this is raising valuable funds for our work and it is absolutely FREE for you to use and because this is just a bookmark, and not another app, you still get full access to your mobile phone’s web browser.

It takes just a few seconds to add this bookmark so if you haven’t done it yet, please follow this link to start straightaway!

Thank you!

Add a comment | Posted by Chris Macsween at 11:30