Leonardo DiCaprio commits to protecting lions in Malawi

After being the centre of the world's largest animal translocation project in history, Liwonde National Park in Malawi is now to see the return of lions thanks to funding through Leonardo DiCaprio's charity foundation.

Lions are receiving critically needed support, thanks to Leonardo DiCaprio and the Lion Recovery Fund. The fund was created by Wildlife Conservation Network and Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to protect lions and their ecosystems across Africa.

Over the last century, lion populations have seen a rapid decline from 200,000 to just over 20,000. With the support from the Lion Recovery Fund, African Parks will be reintroducing lions to Liwonde National Park in Malawi, strengthening the ecosystem as well as supporting Malawi's growing tourism economy.

"Lions are a keystone species and play a critical role in African ecosystems. Recovering them means the protection and restoration of Africa's extraordinary biodiversity that drives a $34 billion tourism economy," said Justin Winters, Executive Director of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

African Parks have been managing Liwonde since 2015 and have improved wildlife numbers, managed surplus species and has recovered populations of essential carnivore prey. After reintroducing 4 cheetah to Liwonde earlier this year, the cats are thriving in their new home - paving the way for further predator restoration in the park. Find out more here.

About the Lion Recovery Fund The Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to catalyse recovery of lions in critical landscapes across Africa, while creating a philanthropic and conservation movement to restore these African icons and their vast landscapes, created the Lion Recovery Fund (LRF). The LRF invests in the best ideas from any institution, and sends 100% of donations to actions that can restore lions and their landscapes. As a result of efficiency and impact, The Wildlife Conservation Network is proud to have a number one rating for wildlife conservation organisations on Charity Navigator—with four stars and a perfect 100 score—and platinum status with Guidestar.

About African Parks African Parks is a non-profit conservation organisation that takes on the complete responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in partnership with governments and local communities. They currently manage 11 national parks and protected areas in eight countries covering six and a half million hectares: Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Zambia. Their goal is to manage 20 parks by 2020, protecting more than 10 million hectares.