Stacey Wlodarek volunteered on one of our lion projects in Zambia last December. Her experience working with the lions was a life-changing one both in terms of what she learned about the invaluable work that is being done by our team to protect and increase the African lion population and through the amazing experiences and encounters she had with man and beast whilst staying out in some of the most beautiful surroundings our planet has to offer. Read on to hear more about her three week adventure…. "I had previously heard of this project in 2009 when I was on an 8 week conservation volunteer placement in South Africa and had kept it in mind since that time. Being in Africa and able to get involved in conservation efforts on a more personal level had a profound impact on me and after returning home from a 3 month trip in 2009 I could not wait to return. I always knew Zambia would be my next destination. The beauty and majesty of the lions and how awestruck I was having been lucky enough to see lions in the wild were without a doubt my fondest memories of my previous experience. I knew Lion Encounter and ALERT were focused on the future of the African lion and the efforts being made to reintroduce lions to areas where populations are at critical numbers or extinct was something I definitely wanted to get involved in. Immediately after arriving in Livingstone and being taken to the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park where the project is situated I felt comfortable and at home. I quickly learnt how friendly, professional and knowledgeable all staff were and already knew on day one that this place will not be easy to say goodbye to in three weeks! The knowledge I gained whilst at the project was immeasurable. It was most definitely an eye-opener as, although I knew wild lion numbers were dropping significantly, to know how critical it is becoming is quite scary and I know I do notwant to live in a world where these magnificent animals no longer exist in the wild. The ALERT team are fully committed to the project and their care and motivation is clearly evident when seeing how much the project has achieved in its relatively short time of operation.