Disney’s Lion King Will Help Panthera #ProtectThePride

By Jamie Zaccaria
Communications and Digital Content Manager

Lion in Zambia

Ahead of the release of its highly anticipated live-action film, The Lion King, The Walt Disney Company has launched #ProtectThePride, a global campaign to help recover Africa’s embattled lion populations. The campaign aims to bring attention to the crisis facing lions and other African wildlife while supporting on-the-ground conservation efforts through the Wildlife Conservation Network’s Lion Recovery Fund (LRF) and its partners, including Panthera.

Disney’s support will help the LRF and its partners reach their goal of doubling the number of lions in Africa by 2050. Disney has already donated more than $1.5 million to the LRF and plans to double that amount through additional grants, as well as participation from fans, for a total contribution of up to $3 million.

Disney France has selected Panthera as conservation partner for the film’s release in France. Together with Gifts for Change, a mission-driven retailer, Disney France will offer for sale a custom bracelet made of sustainable, locally-sourced materials featuring Simba the lion. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the bracelets will go toward Panthera’s lion programs, with a focus on our efforts in Senegal’s Niokolo-Koba National Park, funded in part by LRF. 

Panthera receives funding from LRF for a number of its lion conservation projects focused on reducing the poaching of lions and their prey in protected areas and key wildlife corridors. We are working together on lion conservation projects in West and Southern Africa, including:

  • Kafue National Park, Zambia: developing a clear law enforcement strategy to combat bushmeat poaching and other threats to lions within the park.
  • Limpopo National Park, Mozambique: with the Greater Limpopo Carnivore Program, strengthening site security programs and increasing patrols to prevent lion poaching.
  • Luengue-Luiana National Park, Angola: bolstering Panthera’s ability to recover lions in the park with support for increased site security staff and key equipment.
  • Batéké Plateau National Park, Gabon: implementing a strategic restoration of the lion population by translocating potential mates for the country’s sole lion—a male.
  • Niokolo-Koba National Park, Senegal: establishing a secure zone within the park and the necessary infrastructure to protect the park’s critically endangered West African lion population.
Scat collection

In the 25 years since Disney released the original version of the The Lion King, Africa’s lion population has been reduced by half due to a variety of threats including poaching, habitat loss and conflict with people. Today, only about 24,000 lions remain in the wild. Panthera’s research and conservation actions have proven that by providing adequate protection and increasing tolerance for lions among the people who live with them, we can successfully recover lion populations.

Sebastian Kennerknecht lion

The release of The Lion King is a great excuse to brush up on your lion knowledge and invite others to join you in raising awareness and supporting lion conservation using the hashtags #TheLionKing #ProtectThePride.

Check out some of our lion resources below and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube for future updates.