Archive | June, 2009

White Lions – A Dying Breed

4 Jun

As some of you may know, myself and fellow journalist Natalie Adcock visited West Midlands Safari Park last Saturday (30th May). The main aim of this visit was to find out what the Safari Park was doing to promote World Environment Day, which you can find more about on Natalie’s podcast. But of course we took advantage of the beautiful weather and went around the Safari Park itself while we were there – who wouldn’t?!

As we went round the park there were so many gorgeous animals, but the part that particularly caught my eye was the Kingdom of the White Lions.

Entering the Kingdom of the White Lions

 

West Midlands Safari Park has eight white lions in total, although they were quite hard to spot – the lazy creatures didn’t seem very keen on the hot sun, and preferred to lounge in the shade, or underneath shelters.

 

Lazy lions...

Lazy lions...

 

Having known little about the breed of white lions before, apart from that they’re endangered, I decided to do some more research into this elegant species.

It turns out white lions are not simply albino, as I’d first thought, they are in fact a rare colour mutation of the Kruger lion, originating from South Africa. They are something of a legend in their native Africa, regarded as divine, because of their unique colouring.

So, why are they classed as an endangered species? White Lions are one of the most hunted species of lion, specifically because of their colouring. The unique white-blonde colour of these lions makes them an easy target for hunters from the West, as they stand out. They are also very rare because they are a result of a mutation, and so they only occur when two lions carrying the mutant gene mate.

After looking further into the subject of white lions I must say I feel privileged to be that close to them at the Safari Park – they can usually only be found in wildlife reserves in South Africa, and West Midlands Safari Park was the first UK park to host a pride of these lions when they arrived from Africa in 2004.

An even more shocking statistic; according to the West Midlands Safari Park website, there are only around 70 white lions existing in the whole world!

It was discouraging to find out that such a stunning animal is in danger, but there are plenty of organisations aiming to help preserve the White Lion species, such as the Global White Lion Protection Trust. This is a non-profit based conservation and community development organisation based in South Africa striving to protect the rare white lion.

I can only hope that this communities and other communities working to help endangered animals get all the support and funding they can to keep up the good work and save the white lions!

 

I'll leave you with a close up of my favourite white lion from West Midlands Safari Park!

I'll leave you with a close up of my favourite white lion from West Midlands Safari Park!

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Top Ten Environmental Groups to follow on Twitter

2 Jun

Since writing for environmental news website Birmingham Recycled I’ve developed an interest in environmental news and developments, in my local area, nationally and worldwide. Twitter is a great way to keep up to date on the latest news, environmental or otherwise, through short, succinct “tweets”, just telling you what you need to know. I’ve been following various environmental groups on Twitter for a while now, as it is a simple way to keep on top of the latest efforts, campaigns and debates going on in the environmental world.

So, here are my top ten….

  • Friends of the Earth @wwwfoecouk – The UK environmental campaigning organisation on Twitter

  • Earth Hour 2009 @earthhour – Raising awareness and action to help the earth globally

  • Greenpeace @greenpeace – The Global campaigning organisation, encouraging people to get active

  • Twilight Earth@twilightearth – Twilight Earth are an American based group who say they want to save the environment through shared news discussion and activism.

  • Conservation News @conservationnews – Offers automated updates on wildlife and conservation issues.

  • Be More Eco @bemoreeco – A website dedicated to “all things eco” – automatically tweets all new articles posted on the website

  • Environment Actions @enviroactions – part of Social Actions – they give you plenty of ideas on how to get active about the environment.

  • Planet Green @planetgreen – Offering practical every day tips for leading a greener lifestyle

  • Planet Save @psave – Planet Save is a website claiming to bring you green news, commentary and services, encouraging followers to join in and take action.

  • Nature Conservancy @nature_org – A leading conservation organisation working for people and nature

And one more…

  • Birmingham Recycled @bhamrecycled – Our very own environmental news website, focusing on environmental news from the Midlands but including some nationwide aswell. Written solely by journalism students from Birmingham City University. We do try to provide you with the most original and up to date environmental news possible, and encourage debate and deliberation – so do take a look and tell us what you think!