My Lion’s Heart by Gareth Patterson

My Lion’s Heart tells Gareth Patterson’s life story, a story inextricably interwoven with the plight of the lion and all wildlife in Africa. When he was born in 1963, it was estimated that perhaps four hundred thousand lions graced the continent of Africa. Today it is thought that only some twenty thousand lions exist in the wilds.

The cause of this alarming decline is loss of habitat, persecution due to conflict with humankind, widespread continental poaching, and the demand to kill lions by western trophy hunters.

When Gareth wrote his first book (Cry for the Lions) in 1988 about the plight of the lion, it was estimated that two hundred thousand lions existed. On the publication of that book, certain conservationists almost scoffed at the young author’s concern about the lion, making statements like “Lions are not threatened. Lions breed rapidly in the wilds, and are certainly not in trouble.”

How Gareth wishes that they had been right. Since then, twenty six years later, we have lost 90% of Africa’s lion numbers.

My Lion’s Heart takes the reader on Gareth’s life journey attempting to create awareness about the plight of the lion, and his attempts to greater protect this animal, which is the iconic animal symbol of Africa.

print edition