DETROIT and WASHINGTON, July 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Following the tragic death of Cecil the Lion, African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) launched "Justice for Cecil," a CrowdRise fundraiser with the goal of protecting lions like Cecil, and other species heavily targeted by poachers.
"The threat of extinction is very real for African lions," says African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) Vice President of Species Protection, Dr. Philip Muruthi. "Given the dramatic decline in Africa's lion population, we cannot support any human activities that contribute to lion mortalities, and that includes sport hunting."
Lions are extinct in North Africa, severely depleted across West and Central Africa, and now losing ground in their strongholds of East and Southern Africa. Amid rapid economic change and growth on the continent, AWF is working to conserve the wildlife and wild lands of Africa through a variety of species protection, community development, education and enterprise development initiatives. African lions are iconic and play an important role in the functioning of the ecosystem. Their numbers, however, are declining rapidly across their range as a result of habitat loss, human-lion conflict, disease, unsustainable hunting and a decline in their prey base. AWF's goal is to conserve viable and ecologically functional populations of lions in their natural environments.
Poaching is one of the most pervasive threats to wildlife around the world. Tigers, lions, elephants, rhinos, and many other species are targeted for the illegal wildlife market. These horrific crimes are carried out on a grand scale -- the illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be a $20 billion a year industry, and is causing the drastic declines of wildlife populations across the continent. Donations made to the 'Justice for Cecil' CrowdRise campaign will support AWF's continued work to protect the wild lands and wild life of Africa, including Africa's lion population, which has declined by 30 percent over the past two decades -- today less than 30,000 of the big cats remain.
CrowdRise is the world's largest and fastest growing online platform dedicated exclusively to charitable fundraising and is used by individuals, charities, companies and celebrities to unlock the power of the crowd and raise hundreds of millions of dollars to support positive social missions.
About African Wildlife Foundation
Founded in 1961, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) is a leading conservation organization focused solely on the African continent. For more information, visit www.awf.org