The Directors and Managment of Lion Encounter Zambia have agreed to suspend lion walks in Zambia as of November 2015. According to their website, this move follows “recommendations by and “consultations with” ALERT’s Executive Committee.

The Lion Encounter press release goes on to say that “the main objective of this decision is to reduce the number of lions entering into the African Lion Rehabilitation and Release into the Wild Programme, until lions have been successfully released into the wild from the programme”.

Lion walks at ALERT’s other commercial operations across the border in Zimbabwe, Lion Encounter Victoria Falls and Antelope Park, will continue for now at a “reduced level” but suspension at these sites will also be considered “in light of progress made on releasing lions over the next two years”.

Late last year, Zambia Tourism decided to remove operators offering lion walks from this website in response to the mounting criticisms and doubts regarding the ethics and conservation value of such activities. The “Lion Walks” page of the site is now used to inform potential visitors of some of the issues surrounding these activities and operators offering them, and to point them in the direction of a number of useful sources regarding this topic.

Christopher Clark has continued to research this topic on behalf of Zambia Tourism as well as in his personal capacity and has written two blog posts on the Zambia Tourism news page which continue to encourage conversation and have been regularly cited elsewhere. Please see the links below:

Walking with Lions: Con or Conservation?

Walking with Lions: Cor or Conservation? Further Thoughts

We are honoured by the suggestions from some corners that our actions mentioned above have contributed to Lion Encounter Zambia’s decision to suspend lion walks and hope to continue to be involved in the conversation regarding this issue going forward.