First film ever about newly discovered lions in montane rainforests of Ethiopia

by Jul 9, 2013Big Cats1 comment

First film ever about newly discovered lions in Ethiopia who could be shot dead as they are seen as a threat to locals.

Although African lions are ‘King of the Jungle’ they are actually never seen in rainforests, but recent photographs have revealed a population of lions living in the high forests of Ethiopia. For the first time our documentary EXPEDITION JUNGLE LION will film these secretive lions so we can discover more about them. With your help it can also raise awareness of these rare lions and help protect them from the bullet. We invite you to be a part of this remarkable film – our top reward gives you an opportunity to be a part of the film crew in Ethiopia.

In the last real wilderness of Ethiopia mighty roars echo through the mountain jungle. Living here is a secret population of lions unknown to science until last year, but already they are under threat because they are feared. These forest lions truly are the ‘King of the Jungle’. Elusive yet bold, they hunt different prey, but how different are their lives from the lions of the savannah? Are they indeed an entirely new species of lion? This film will uncover the lion’s secrets.

We know very little about these lions. However one thing we do know is that over the years they have killed up to 850 livestock on the edge of the forest. Despite this, the locals never harmed these lions or shot them. That is because they respect them as they are very much part of their mythology. So when huntsmen were brought in to “deal” with the problem, the village elders told the farmers to send the marksmen on a wild goose chase, by giving false information about their whereabouts, leaving not one lion killed.

It is now urgent that we document these lions before this happens again. Next time they may not be so lucky. We quickly need to give both the lions and the local people a voice so such a disaster is avoided. There are solutions to this problem and this film will explore these, and share it with a global audience.

We are mounting an expedition to film their behaviour, estimate how many there are, what they are hunting, their interactions with the indigenous coffee harvesters and the threats they face. Using our unique skills of wildlife filming, camera traps and field craft we will set out to reveal the true life of these mysterious lions. The film aims to help protect these lion by revealing their uniqueness and importance to our planet.

These lions are found in forests where the original coffee was discovered. The locals perform coffee ceremonies and talk of their spiritual relationship with the lion. They have a second sense, hearing a twig snap or a bird call they stop and say “The King is Here”.

Although the locals talked about lions in the forest, no-one listened to them. Last year NABU, the renowned German conservation organisation, provided the first evidence of lions in the Afro-montane rain and cloud forest. It astounded the world press, African lions had only before been recorded on savannah and thorny scrub, not living high up in remote mountain rainforests.

Lions are gravely imperiled and on the IUCN RED LIST. Habitat loss, prey depletion, hunting, and poisonings have decimated Africa’s lions. In the last 100 years, it is believed that the lion population has declined by 85% and now are extinct in 26 African countries.

These forests are also known as Ethiopia’s green lungs. They catch the rain that feeds the rivers that support the nation. They are the birthplace of Arabica coffee that first grew here 1000 years ago. Incredible bird, plant, monkey species live here along with hippo, bush pig, leopard and our secret lions.

Baboons, Wild Coffee Beans, Wattled Cranes are also found in these forests © Svane Bender/NABU
Lions have always been revered in Ethiopia and they are on the national currency. But tolerance is changing and today the relationship with the lions is in danger of disintegrating due to the loss of lion habitat, forcing lions into farming areas. More and more kills of livestock are being reported and conservationists fear that the respectful relationship between man and lion could change for the worse. This film will reveal the special relation the locals have for the lions, despite their livestock being killed.

NABU is working with people such as Dr Hans Bauer who has 15 years experience in conservation management he first studied the lions of Cameroon. The film will highlight the importance of future research on these lions, and so protecting them.

EXPEDITION JUNGLE LION is an Aqua Vita Films production with the assistance of NABU Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union in Germany. NABU are working to research, protect and manage the incredible wildlife in this Biosphere Reserve and work to protect the forest people. We passionately feel that this remarkable story needs to be told!

This film will be used to inform schools, organizations, corporations, businesses and governments about the importance of these lions and why they need to be protected. We ask you to keep pledging beyond our goal, as the bigger the funding, the better the film. One aim is make a greater in depth film about these lions for international broadcast, but we cannot do this unless we get this footage first.

Please support this important project:

1 Comment

  1. meech97

    I sincerely hope that bringing these remarkable lions so much attention is not setting them up for disaster. I am from small town Iowa. I know from experience if you announce an albino deer it is dead in a week. These lions did and are doing what they need to do to survive. I hate to say it and don’t want to think it, but I believe you have exposed them. I really wish you hadn’t.