Remember Timon, the charismatic crooning meerkat from Disney's hit "The Lion King"?
Some of his real life cousins live in South Africa's Namaqualand region—taking turns standing guard over the colony as their friends forage for food—but they've got worries.
The region, known for its colorful wildflowers, is also facing the dual threats of water scarcity and land degradation. In fact, Namaqualand is predicted to change from a semi-desert to a desert within the next fifty years.
READ: In Namaqualand, Water for All
More than meerkats, the region is also home to 26,000 people who are losing their main water source as livestock overgraze the land and destroy important wetlands. Nearly 4 out of 5 people there don’t have enough water for drinking, washing and other daily needs.
Conservation International is working closely with local communities to help them conserve water by repairing damaged pumps and restoring natural ecosystems, training local volunteers to remove invasive species like poplar trees—which use up large amounts of ground water—and replace them with native vegetation. These activities will ensure that all families have enough clean water to drink, and their livestock will once again have greener pastures.
CI’s wetlands project in South Africa's Namaqualand region has been selected by The Walt Disney Company as a recipient of funding through Disney’s Friends for Change: Project Green. Kids can vote on the Friends for Change website to help Disney decide how to distribute donations among five programs. First place gets $100,000 – so tell the kids in your life to get involved and vote today at Disney.com/projectgreen!