While researching some wildlife projects to do with my cub scout den here in Oregon, I came across a wonderful National Geographic project for kids. “Letters to Lions” encourages children to write a letter explaining how important lions are, including some personal drawings of the magnificent cats. Filmmakers and National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence, Dereck and Beverly Joubert will deliver the letters to African leaders to help raise awareness regarding the endangered wild cats.
Did you know that there used to be 450,000 lions in Africa, just 60 years ago, but now there are probably as few as 20,000 of the wild cats remaining? The rapidly declining numbers are due to loss of habitat, poaching, and the use of pesticides and disease.
According to Dereck Joubert:
“We no longer have the luxury of time when it comes to big cats,” says Dereck. “They are in such a downward spiral that if we hesitate now, we will be responsible for extinctions across the globe. If there was ever a time to take action, it is now.”
You can help raise awareness regarding the endangered lions by lending your voice!
To participate in the “Letters to Lions” campaign, children are required to ask their parents to fill out and sign a permission form (some letters and drawings may be featured on the National Geographic web site or in print).
Simply visit Letters to Lions for instructions on how to submit your letter (no more than 250 words) and artwork which will be sent to African leaders to let them know just how much lions mean to you.
In the U.S., mail your letter, artwork, and signed form to:
Digital Media – Kids
1145 17th St., NW
Washington, DC 20036
To learn more about lions and other endangered animals, visit the Big Cats Initiative page at National Geographic.