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25 years since the original, we ask what happened to the animals featured in the film & where can you see them in the wild?

by Laura Bannister

With a release date set as 9th July 2019 and a powerful trailer circulating, mirroring the memorable "Circle of Life" sequence from the original, the new, live-action The Lion King film is filling older fans with nostalgia and inspiring a whole new generation of young people

However, a quarter of a century has passed since the original film was released, raising some very interesting and important questions about the various animals featured in the movie – from Simba the lion to Timon and Pumbaa, the beloved meerkat and warthog duo, and Rafiki the wise mandrill.

The news of the movie particularly highlights the issue of animal conservation, and how this may have changed and worsened in the past 25 years, since the original 1994 movie.

Indeed, many of the animals involved in the film are on the endangered list, including the West African lion, which has been listed as critically endangered since 2016.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the African lion population has dropped by 42% over the last 21 years, with their main threats including habitat loss through agricultural development and human settlement, a lack of prey, human-wildlife conflict, epidemics and diseases.

The lion isn’t the only animal to be suffering. Beyond the cast of characters in The Lion King, African elephants have declined by 111,000 over the past decade, western chimpanzees have declined by 80% over the past 25 years, and despite efforts to ban rhino poaching, the practice has continued to increase, up to 7000% in some countries.

Here at Wayfairer Travel, we specialise in luxury travel built on responsible tourism, offering travel experiences which are authentic, meaningful and responsible. That is why these numbers are so alarming to us; we aim to offer travel opportunities in a way that benefits local communities and helps conserve wildlife and natural environments.

With this in mind, we have created a comprehensive interactive map of all of the animals featured in The Lion King, showing you where can find all of these fascinating animals in their natural habitats.

We hope our detailed map will help to support responsible travel and prompt further discussion around conservation efforts and the issues facing our wildlife.

While The Lion King movie is set in the Pride Lands (loosely based on Kenya and Tanzania), in real life, many of the species featured can be found all over the world – not only in Africa, but also across South America, Asia and even Europe.

Key countries where you can find some of your favourite Lion King creatures include Kenya, Brazil, South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania, as well as some lesser expected countries such as Spain, the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka and Iceland.

As well as finding out where you can visit The Lion King animals around the world, our new map is also packed full of fun facts about the animals and destinations included.

For example, did you know that African bush elephants can lift 300 kilograms with their trunks – the equivalent to two giant pandas?

Whilst some of these facts are simply fun trivia, we also discovered more alarming facts highlighting the issues facing our wildlife currently.

For example, the common chimpanzee has completely disappeared from four African countries, and is near extinction in many others.

Elsewhere, the vervet monkey – which can exist pretty much anywhere in the world as long as there is a reliable source of water – is heavily threatened by human activity; with an annual slaughter carried out in order to prevent the monkeys becoming pests, stealing food and raiding crops.

Similarly, the biggest threat to rhinos is also humans - powdered horn is used in a lot of traditional Asian medicines, and has been for centuries, creating an ever-increasing demand for rhino horn and a profitable income for rhino poachers.

Learn more about the animals featured in The Lion King and where you can see them in the wild by viewing our interactive map here:

 Lion King Interactive Map 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_Lion_King_characters

https://disney.fandom.com/wiki/List_of_species_seen_in_The_Lion_King

https://giltedgeafrica.com/the-best-places-to-see-wild-lions-in-africa/

https://www.livescience.com/27406-meerkats.html

https://www.awf.org/wildlife-conservation/

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