The Last Lions

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Bring March in for the Lions

I had the honor of watching  The Last Lions, An Incredible True Story of Survival from National Geographic Entertainment.  National Geographic was so nice, they sent me a copy to watch here in my habitat.  The film was made by  Dereck and Beverly Joubert, award-winning filmmakers from Botswana, Africa.  The Jouberts  have been National Geographic explorers-in-residence for over four years.  Their body of work has produced five Emmy’s, a Peabody, the World Ecology Award, and induction into the American Academy of Achievement.  Filmmaking  is their way of bringing the message of conservation to  viewers, and I think they delivered with The Last Lions.

From the opening scene of the film you will be swept away by the beauty of Africa as the film takes you on a visual journey into some of the last remaining  wild areas for lions. The cinematography is breathtaking and mesmerizing to watch, as you listen to the story being narrated  by Jeremy Irons.

The  tale unfolds  in the wetlands of Botswana’s Okavango Delta where a lone lioness  and her cubs must flee a raging fire and escape from an invading rival lion pride driven south by human encroachment from their home territory.  Ma di Tau (“Mother of Lions”) must battle alone for her survival and for her cubs.  The lioness is forced to swim across a river full of crocodile to the remote Duba Island.

Life is difficult for all lions but to be alone, to  have to make a decision of whether to hunt  or to stay and protect  her cubs is a constant struggle. Not only does Ma di Tau have to worry about the  rival pride’s female leader, Silver Eye, she must worry about the  fierce herd of buffalo that have also sought refuge on Duba Island.

When you think of Africa, you more than likely think of lions.  You might picture wild lions roaming freely and abundantly across vast expanses of the continent.  But unfortunately that is not the reality for lions today. As little as 50 years ago,  more than 450,000 lions  ruled their land but today there are an estimated  20,000 individuals.  There are only an estimated 3500-5000 male lions remaining and the United States is still allowing the import of 550 “Trophies a year”. To add insult to injury, every time a male lion is killed for “sport”, between 12 and 20 lions are killed, because the new male that enters to take over the territory  will kill all the cubs the dead male has sired.  The females often fight to the death protecting their cubs.

The film is  heart breaking and  you will feel physically spent watching the struggle up close but there is a turning point where the power shifts into Ma di Tau’s favor at least for a moment in time.  The film will more than likely leave you a bit haunted, and that is what a great documentary should do if you ask me.  There is an important message  that needs to be heard by all  and that message is our world cannot sustain the level of abuse  being placed upon it by the most invasive of all species, human beings.  As humans crowd out all other living creatures, what will happen to our world?

The film asks, “Are Ma di Tau and her cub  to be among the last lions? Or will humans be touched when they see how tough, courageous, and heart-rending their lives in the wild are and be moved to make a difference?”

Gracey looking at The Last Lions poster

Gracey, The Tiniest Tiger recommends The Last Lions

Friends, I so loved this movie and its message that I want to give one lucky reader the opportunity to win a copy of The Last Lions  Official Companion to the Motion Picture Book! The book is filled with the amazing photography of Beverly Joubert and is written by Dereck Joubert.  All you have to do to be entered to win a copy of the book is leave a comment below this post, telling me why lions are important to you, by March 9, 2011. Lions are so woven into our lives, it is nearly impossible to imagine our world without them isn’t it?

The Last Lions Official Companion to the Motion Picture

Leave a comment below for your chance to win a copy.

I want to ask you to share this with all of your Friends too so that we can help spread the word about this important film and the urgent message to help save the remaining lions.  Please visit Cause an Uproar to learn about the Big Cats Initiative and how you can help.

Let’s bring March in like a Lion for the lions!

Thank you!

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  1. Lions are imortant to the african ecosystem, they are imprtant to me because I love all animals, but have an extra soft spot for felines.

  2. Lions are important to me because they are amazing beautiful cats (okay that bit might have been redundant) who have a special place to fill in the world. If the lions are lost, there will be a void left that cannot be filled and their entire ecosystem will be threatened.

  3. Lions are important because they are majestic, regal and amazing. Timmy looks up to lions because they are good hunters and don’t wobble when they run. He is practicing his leaping, and watches lions of TV often to get the right movement for himself. We, as humans, need to learn to value our animals and wildlife – all of it – not just some of it. If lions were extinct that would be a great shame on humans.

  4. There is something about lions that, for me, have both healing and empowering qualities. No where else is the fragility of life more aparent, than observing lions in their natural habitat. They remind me to be thankful for every moment I am given on this planet. I don’t ever want to imagine an Africa without it’s most amazing big cats. I have been waiting for The Last Lions to play in my city, and this week, it is. I will certainly be seeing it.

  5. I Have always been awestruck by Cat’s especially Big ones. I have Loved them as far back as I can remember and I can’t imagine my life without them. I have went out of my way to have several pictures of me with them because I love them so much. They are so Majestic and Beautiful. We need to do all that we can to protect them. They provide a vital part of our ECO system and to loose them we loose part of our selves and our environment.

  6. Janellmarkey says

    I can’t imagine a world without big cats, like the lion. I was so sad to see that the eastern cougar is extinct and hope we don’t let the same thing happen to the lion. Lions are important because of the critical role they play in the ecosystem. Plus there is something just so graceful and magical about the way they move. I can’t wait to go see “The Last Lions’ in April when it finally gets to my area!

  7. Lorraine G says

    Lions are important to me because they are predators who are important to the ecosystem of Africa. Without predators, oher animals will grow too numerous for the land to sustain them. Then those species will have problems. For the quantity of lions to go from over 450,000 to less than 20,000 in just 50 years is atrocious.
    Lions were my late boyfriend’s favorite animal and therefore they have a special place in my heart along with the tiger, which has always been my favorite animal.

  8. Docwho4421 says

    lions are important to me because they are beautiful creatures. I don’t ever want to see the extinction of these regal animals.

  9. Angelajbutz says

    Lions are important to me because they are big cats. My birthsign is Leo the lion. I cannot think of a world without lions. They are a part of Africa and the eco-system there. Without them, Africa and the world would be changed and not in a good way. That’s why lions are important.

  10. Cjadorecat says

    I’m sorry I did not see the show, but I would be even more sorry to place such a magnificent feline into the history books as extinct. Lions are important to me because they represent the epitome of beauty, power and mystique of the cat world. They are the part of my cats dream world , and I love my cats as family, what more could I say. Except I love you too —lions! Cheryl

    • Anonymous says

      The Last Lions film is just now in distribution. You will have to stalk the theaters or better yet, ask them if they will bring the film to you!!

  11. So mighty, majesty and valiant is the lion that he is used as symbol of Jesus Christ (the lion of Judah). Aslan was the great savior of Narnia. Such is the lion’s power. That is why the lion must be preserved and reign in the wild kingdom.

  12. Lions are important to me because they are big, beautiful, graceful cats. They are my second favorite big cat, tigers are my first favorite.

  13. MyKinKStar says

    I was born under the star of Leo, THE Lion, so lions have always had a significance in who I am and ‘all that!’ I also have naturally curly hair, that used to be long and down my back. Ah, male lions are known for their mane of hair and though I’m a girly-girl, I used’ta have a mane too before I cut it all off! Oh, and I like to roar too, cause I’ve got lions deep within my heart and soul. Cool, huh?

    • Anonymous says

      My mom is also a Leo with naturally curly hair. Thank you for posting, we love lions too.

  14. Lions have been my favorite animal ever since I was little. Today I signed a letter of support for a request by several animal welfare organizations for the government to list lions as endangered. I can’t believe they are not already listed that way under the Endangered Species Act.

    • Anonymous says

      Thank you Lucky # 49, I mean Cathy. This is super important and I am planning a post about Lions being listed under the Endangered Species Act. I can’t believe it either.

  15. Lions are the most wonderful animals….I think more people should be aware of their plight. The Barbary lions are already gone from the wild, with not many in captivity. We can’t have all lions that way. I’ve been very privileged to work with Barbary lions and love them to death…they are such sweet devoted anmials. We are doing our part to try and educate people on the Barbary lions and conservation of them also. They are beautiful creatures and no one ever should harm them.

  16. Lions are definitely important to me because they are part of the cat family… and thus siblings/cousins to my own cat Harley… who would be heartbroken if I didn’t do what I could to help!

  17. If manunkind destroy the lions, how much longer till we allow this vicious animal to destroy all living creations?

  18. Jeanne Owens says

    I love lions and all the big cats. They are so majestic, and we can learn a lot from studying them and how the interact with the environment. Plus lions have impacted humans throughout history as well. We have idolized them in various aspects of our art and culture.

  19. omg I wanna see it SO bad! Ill drive to Chicago id I have to!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Lions are important to me because they are part of our ecosystem and our world. One animal affects another animal which eventually affects us. If we make an animal become extinct, we are causing ourselves damage. Everything was put on this earth for a reason. We need lions, and every other animal we share the earth with. The more you can help and protect them (and the sooner!), the better!

  21. I want to see the film, and yet I know it will be hard. I remember crying–actually sobbing–through Gorillas in the Mist. I know this will have the same effect. Thanks for posting this. I will share!

  22. Lions are important to me since they are crucial to the wildlife environment in their natural habitat and also because somehow i related to them as a small child & have been fighting for their survival for 40 yrs. I watch & record everything i can on TV about all big cats but don’t think i can go to a theater to watch this…i end up a crying mess at some point during most shows when i have to face their reality. Reading about it is safer! Thanks for sharing this Gracey…I found Nat Geo is donating $.10 for each who views the trailer on You Tube up to a million views!

  23. Janetmitchell86 says

    I am in the sunset of my life and am finding that time goes too fast. Lions are in the sunset of their lives and we need to protect them as much as possible. I can imagine the world without me, but I cannot imagine the world without lions.
    We need to continue the circle of life with all species.

    • Anonymous says

      Hi Janet! I was just getting ready to send you a message. You are our February winner in our Sign Up-Pounce on Prizes. Super Hurrah! You won a copy of The Tiniest Tiger with my pawtograph.

  24. Jvmorrison says

    Lions are important because of their intrinsic value to our world. Of course, they are integral to the African ecosystem, are beautiful, majestic, tender, complex, silly…fill in any adjective one chooses. As a Leo myself, I feel a particular affinity with them, and fancy myself as possessing some of the qualities we – as a culture – attribute to them. We could fill pages and pages with reasons why they are important, it’s enough for me that they ARE important, just because.

  25. Gracey, thank you for sharing. I am amazed that so many lions are gone. Conservation is vital and w/out it we would be without many delicate species. I’m shocked in the last 50 yrs that 430,000 lions have gone from the wild. Having to swim a croc ridden river with cubs? Male cubs dying b/c someone imported or shot a male in Africa? That is all too shameful. Lions are important b/c they are God’s creatures, and your ancestor, Gracey!

  26. Knightdrk2 says

    We do a conservation unit in my Spanish 3 class and view clippings of various National Geographic pieces from their website and talk about the animals that are facing extinction. My students always bring in articles and want to talk about lions and tigers and the dangers they currently face in the wild. They are very popular as topics for presentations and class discussions. This movie sounds like it would make a wonderful addition to the unit. Thank you for sharing!

  27. Lions are as important to their ecosystem as polar bears are to theirs. As the top of the food chain, any change lower on the chain will effect the lions. They can be an indicator of problems suffered by the region.

  28. This would be so sad to see these gracefull lions go, we need to do something !!!!!

  29. Laura S. says

    Lions are very majestic animals, even though, yes they can tear you to shreds. I am a Leo. And, reading up on the history of cats, as dog has been, mans best friends through the years, cats have been by the side of women, as their protector. Lions, inadvertently are great protectors. They show pride, strength, the ability to get what they want, and these are just a few qualities that, human beings seem to forget they have the ability to do, at times. I can’t imagine not having them around.

  30. It is so sad for me to see all the lions disappearing. To allow Can hunts and just for fun. It sickens me. That is not a real hunt! A REAL hunt is what our lions do! They are our predators. Without our Big Cat cousins, this world will not be as we know it today, even from 50 years ago, we have lost so many of our Big Cat cousins. It breaks my heart. Yes, they are NOT pets and they do attack, but that is what they are SUPPOSE to do! They are not to be caged in Gas stations, Not to be taken pictures with, they are to roam free in the wild or in our Big Cat santuaries. Pretty soon, we will not have any lions or tigers of any kind. We keep killing, find a new hobby! If you need to kill, go buy a video game and have at it. Please leave our lions alone. Our biological system will be upset if all the lions are gone. Lions and all cats are so important to me, why can’t others see what we are doing to our world? It is right in front of our own eyes, yet we ignore it. We need to save our Big Cat cousins. Donate what you can, just make sure it is for the good of the lions and not the people. God put them here for a reason and we need to allow them to remain. Ban all killing of all animals! We need to have more strict laws for poachers, killers and people that want these wild animals as pets. They are not pets, as I am sure alot of us would love to experience a big cat, but we cannot and should NOT! That is partly what is wrong with our world, we think everything belongs to US, well guess what? It doesnt! Noone owns the wildlife we need to help them and keep them out of harms way. We need to stop all the cutting down of trees, shrubs etc, clearing fields, these places are where our lions live. It is no wonder they are coming into towns where people live, IT USED TO BE WHERE THE LIONS LIVED! We took it from them & now are afraid they are coming in and killing people? Well sorry to say, but they are defending where they live and they have the right. I will stand up for any cat, big or small. I would love to have the copy of The Last Lions….I know it will tear me up, but we all need to know what is happening. We cannot keep turning a blind eye to all the bad in the world. Someone has to do something and lil Gracey and her humans do all they can. Wont you please help too? Become a member of the Conservation Cub Club and help us to save the lions. Thank you! Judy Simon

  31. Alls Good says

    Lions are not only beautiful to look at, but they play an important part in Africa!
    In fact, they play an important role in life, and, without them, what will happen to other animals in the animal kingdom?

  32. Edlucky56 says

    Lions are wonderful creatures and it’s a shame what is happening to them and so many other animals and their habitats. A world without Lions is something I don’t want to be part of!

  33. Lions are important to me because they were in the first class I took in college called Lions: Science and Science Fiction. I decided to go out on a limb and take this bizarre sounding class. Although it was sometimes a very difficult class, it was a learning experience and lions were right by my side. For the rest of my college years, lions and I were inextricably linked. My room is decorated with them and I am thirsty for facts, documentaries, and organizations about this beasts and how to help them. They are also very unique in their behaviors, as I learned from class, in comparison to other big cats.

  34. Lions were the first wild animals I fell in love with as a child. Elsa from “Born Free” and Kimba the White Lion. The lions at the National Zoo. [Our first pet was a cat, and even our first dog was a little lion dog, a Pekingese.] While not very realistic portrayals of the real dilemmas facing lions and other wild beasts, it was a place to start. By the time I learned about the real problems from Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey, the love of the wild was long implanted in me.

  35. Lions are very important to me! I have a lion tattooed on my chest to remind me that every day. My daughter’s first favorite animal was the lion, and her first animal noise was a lion’s ROARRRR (which she still makes every time we read a story book that has lions in it).

  36. Lions as well as all animals are very important to our Eccosystem. We need them as predators. We are ruining our earth by letting everything die off. God put them here for a reason & we need to keep them close to us and free and stop the killing, the can killing etc.. I have always loved all types of cats, Lions are just awesome. I know I wont win with this comment, but just wanted to give my 2 cents worth. We need to save the lions all over the world!

  37. Lions are important to me as they are majestic creatures. Once they are gone, they are gone forever (just like the tiger and other big cats). The Bible refers to Jesus as the Lion of Judah and I’ve always liked that reference. I would be very sad to see a world with no lions in it. ?

  38. Kathishf says

    Lions are important to me for a variety of different reasons. 1. We should do all we can to live in a way that preserves the environment and all species. The loss of any species is a loss, especially if part of that loss is caused by our bad choices and its effect on the environment. 2. We are a global community and lions express a glimpse of the divine seen in all that is created. They show a glimpse of the spiritual. 3. They are cats – and therfore connected to my own beautiful little kitty girl.

  39. Lions are very important to me because big cats are rapidly becoming extinct. Lions are regal and gorgeous. If we had to live without lions in the wild, whatever would we do? Our children and grandchildren would never know the awesome feeling of seeing them in the wild. Haven’t we destroyed enough creatures and their habitat? Will we ever learn? I hope it’s not too late.

  40. This really makes one think, doesn’t it?

    I’ve always thought lions as simply amazing creatures: regal, strong, a symbol of power and yet the embodiment of gentleness. It’s incredible how such skilled hunters can be such devoted family members at the same time. From the thrill of the hunt to the tenderness shown towards young cubs and family, they’re truly amazing creatures. It breaks my heart to hear what it’s like for them today, and I had no idea the US was still allowing the import of trophies: it’s awful! I don’t understand how we can outlaw so much endangered hunting and yet turn a blind eye towards the lions.

    Lions amazed me as a child, made me laugh and gape in awe. As an adult, they’ve brought tears to my eyes and opened them even more as I realize these magnificent, symbolic animals are suffering. And yet, they still manage to make me smile, laugh, and often gape in awe. That’s why lions are important to me: not only are they a truly royal feline, but they’re a part of my life and I hope always will be.

  41. Lions are important to me because they are cats! Big cats! Anything that I can do to help cats of any size or shape to live in peace on our Earth I am willing to do. They make our planet beautiful.

  42. Lions symbolize the strength and purity of the soul. The acient Egyptians knew this, and honored this thousands of years ago. If we do not also learn and honor this same lesson, humanity will lose its soul when it loses The Last Lions….

  43. Lions are important to me because they are an integral part of the ecosystem and without them, I fear the African wilds would be so negatively impacted. Imagine, the sounds of Africa without the lion’s roar…too sad!!!!

  44. Lions are important to me as a biologist/conservationist/zoologist, but even more important to the ecosystem of Africa. Being that they are considered a top/apex predator, if we lose the lions, many other animals will be affected as well. They are part of the …(cue the Disney music)… “circle of life”.

  45. Lions are important to me because I identify with them. I am a Leo, of course! Lions embody all of the character traits that I (like to think) have. They are majestic, proud, independent and natural-born leaders. How horribly sad that humans are taking away the lions’ habitat and killing them! Everyone should watch this film!

  46. Louisamay says

    Lions are important to me because they are beautiful and noble creatures that deserve to live as much as we do. It would be very sad if future generations did not get to see these magnificent animals.