Protecting Africa's Big Cats Through Ecotourism

By Kim Young-Overton, Ph.D.
Director, Cheetah Program

Female lioness with two cubs
© Sebastian Kennerknecht

There is nothing quite like sharing stories and ideas about wildlife around a campfire deep in the African wilderness with the sound of lions roaring in the background. After many such conversations, my friends at Wilderness Safaris and I designed a safari experience for cat lovers, featuring lions, cheetahs and leopards. Following the last two years in isolation, I know that many are craving an opportunity to reconnect with nature. It is, therefore, my pleasure to invite you to join us on this safari, during which you can gain an authentic and genuine understanding of wildlife conservation and the challenges we face on the ground, as well as the unforgettable rewards. 

As your hosts, Isaac Kalio, one of Wilderness Safari's head guides, and I will share a firsthand account of wildlife conservation in Zambia’s stunning Busanga Plains of Kafue National Park. I can’t wait to welcome you to my  “office” and show you Panthera’s support program, which in partnership with Zambia's Department of National Parks and Wildlife protects wildlife through SMART patrolling, focal protection and monitoring of big cats, crime analytics, demand reduction and community conservation. This outstanding landscape is home to iconic prides of lions, elephants, hippos, and buffalo. On our journey, we may even see a leopard feeding on her prey in a tree or a pack of wild dogs hunting on the plains. Around the campfire, we will go beyond observation, giving you a deep understanding of effective conservation strategies.

Through ecotourism, Wilderness Safaris creates alternative economies, bringing training, jobs and other opportunities to remote landscapes. Wilderness Safaris recognizes that we all have a role in environmental management. You, too, can participate in the conservation discussion and process. As the conservation partner on this upcoming safari to Zambia, Wilderness Safaris will donate to Panthera a portion of the proceeds. I’m really looking forward to sharing with you Panthera’s deep programmatic experience in recovering and sustaining wildlife in the Busanga Plains and beyond.

On April 7th, join Isaac and me for a conversation about this trip and lion conservation in Zambia on Facebook Live.