In early 2019 WildCRU signed a monumental partnership with the Seibu Lions, a major baseball team in Japan. The team wished to support the work of WildCRU’s Trans-Kalahari Predator Programme (TKPP) through their ‘Seibu Lions: Save the Disappearing Wild Lions Project’.
Since the start of the 2019 season, each time a Seibu Lions player hits a home run in a home game during a Pacific League match, the team makes a donation to our lion conservation research. Additionally, once a year the Seibu Lions host a Save Lions Day at the team’s home – the MetLife Stadium in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture. On this day there is an awareness-raising campaign about the plight of wild lions and how TKPP works with local communities to protect lion populations in Zimbabwe and Botswana.
At the end of their 2019 season, the Seibu Lions made their first donation. Their funds support new mobile bomas and the employment of Long Shields Lion Guardians who work tirelessly on the ground in Zimbabwe.
This is a particularly significant partnership for WildCRU. It opened opportunities to raise awareness of lion conservation research to a wider audience, and also raises vital funds for the programme. Additionally the Seibu Lions, by signing the partnership, took inspirational action, leading by example, in honouring their animal symbolism. WildCRU have previously published research shining a light on how wildlife conservation could be transformed if corporations and consumers committed to actions such as this one taken by the Seibu Lions.
Good, C., Burnham, D., & Macdonald, D. W. (2017). A cultural conscience for conservation. Animals, 7(7), 52.