Britain's ITV Documentary 'Lion Country' a roaring success for conservation voluntourism

“Lion Country” opened to rave reviews and a staggering 4.8 million viewers during prime time in the UK on Wednesday 6th January. The documentary showcases a lion conservation volunteer project, and is hosted by past volunteer David Youldon
By: Sarah Graham
Jan. 8, 2010 - PRLog -- “Lion Country” opened to rave reviews and a staggering 4.8 million viewers during prime time in the UK on Wednesday 6th January. These figures are said to give the show the 4th highest rating within ITV’s portfolio. The six part ITV series is a fascinating new documentary that follows the life of past African Impact volunteer and British conservationist David Youldon, as well as the ALERT Lion conservation programme founded at their flagship lion rehabilitation project at Antelope Park in Zimbabwe.

David Youldon had this to say in response to the ITV premiere

"We have received an overwhelming response from the estimated 4.8 million viewers of the first episode of the docusoap "Lion Country" that was aired on 6th January on ITV in the UK.  To bring awareness to people of the plight of the lions and the work being done on the ground here in Africa to help secure a future for what many consider as the world's most iconic species is incredibly important.  We hope that the series will develop people's interest in finding out more about the species and to start supporting the many admirable projects working in Africa to meet the challenges faced by the African lion. Just imagine Africa without the lion!?”  

Since its humble beginnings at their Antelope Park Lion Rehabilitation Project in Zimbabwe in 2004, the team has carefully built African Impact into a voluntourism organization of which they are immensely proud.

In 2005 African Impact was a fundamental partner in the launch of the ALERT Trust and today remains a proud partner of this noble conservation initiative.

The  African Lion & Environmental Research Trust is a non‐profit organization based in Livingstone, Zambia whose aim is to provide a solution to the sharply decreasing numbers of African lions, but also to provide long-term solutions to protect habitat such that wild and reintroduced prides can survive in viable numbers. To this end ALERT supports the four‐stage Lion Rehabilitation and Release into the Wild Program developed by Andrew & Wendy Conolly at Antelope Park, near the city of Gweru in the heart of the Zimbabwe Midlands.

Studies and estimates put the decline of Africa’s lion population at 80-90% in the last 30 years. And now every day travelers can join the likes of David Youldon and get involved in this exciting initiative. To date over 1000 volunteers have already experienced the thrill of taking time out in the African bush with the king of beasts…

And what were some of their highlights of volunteering with lions through the ALERT and African Impact programme?

“Walking with the lions, spending time with the lion handlers who were brilliant with the volunteers some really memorable times. When the lions made their first kill was fantastic to be there and be part of it. The elephant swim was amazing. Meeting a great group of new friends. Riding through the bush and getting really close to wildlife. Bottle feeding and spending time with the new cubs. I could go on….!”
Sarah Kremeyer, Age 21, UK

“All in all, the program is fantastic.  I’m honored to have played a small role in such an historical program and have great hope and faith in the ALERT team that the goal will be accomplished over the next decade.”
Kim Behrns, Age 44, USA

Email for more details about becoming a volunteer on this ground-breaking lion rehabilitation project.

Alternatively visit these links to find out more about how to volunteer

Livingstone, Zambia

Antelope Park, Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

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African Impact is the largest facilitator of responsible volunteer projects in Southern and East Africa. In 2009 we were nominated as finalists in the World Travel Awards, and are continuously striving to improve the nature of our work in Africa.

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