Leading shoemaker, BATA Shoe Company (K) Ltd. has this morning entered into a partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to support the conservation of lions.
Through a conservation campaign dubbed #Footprintsforthewild, the KWS – Bata partnership will strive to control human-carnivore conflict by collaring lions because the initiative resonates well with the long-standing Safari brand and supports tourism.
The partnership includes rehabilitation of Mt. Longonot National Park trails, Nairobi Safari Walk benches and development of story boards at the Ivory Burning Site in Nairobi National Park. In addition, a joint marketing campaign will be carried out at 136 Bata stores as well as tourism exhibitions, both locally and internationally. The partnership will also include periodic joint conservation activities, for instance, World Lion Day celebrations.
The initiative is expected to trigger customers to purchase Safari boots with part of the proceeds going to lion conservation.
The KWS – Bata partnership rides on the long history of the Bata Safari Boot which was inspired by the early safari expeditions to observe and record wildlife and landscapes particularly in Africa. In the late 1960s, Bata challenged itself to develop an African outdoor brand. It was in the same period that the Acacia tree and lion were incorporated to the logo. “Safari” brand was launched in Kenya in 1963 and quickly became one of Kenya’s best-selling shoes, popular with locals and tourists.
It proved capable of withstanding the toughest conditions of the African savannah. In 1990s Safari was re-designed to more trendy designs with the introduction of new collections.
Africa is home to most of the world’s lion populations. However, all across Africa lion populations are declining fast. Africa lion is classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2010.
Kenya’s Lion Conservation Strategy whose implementation period was 2009-2014 is under review, with more than 70 per cent of the activities outlined in the strategy havingbeen implemented.
In Kenya, lions occur in a number of protected areas, with a large population occurring in the Parks. Over the years, the lion population has dropped from 2002 (2,749), 2004 (2,280) to 1,970 according to the latest estimate. Kenya loses about 15 lions every year with most deaths attributed to conflict with people, with minimal cases from disease and poaching for skin, teeth and claws.
The decline in lion population has been attributed to several factors:
- Human-carnivore conflict is the largest, especially in Nairobi.
- Nairobi National Park is located seven kilometers from the Central Business District. Its closeness to residential areas has made it harder for the park to contain wild animals which constantly leave the park.
The funds raised in the KWS-Bata partnership will be used to purchase GPS monitored collars. One lion is usually collared per pride. Only 60 lions have been collared in Kenya.