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A ceremony to lay the first brick and begin the construction of the new US Consulate General in Lagos, Nigeria was held at the end of March 2022. It will replace the current consulate based in Eko Atlantic on Victoria Island, Lagos.

This fresh project is a strong statement of the US bid to strengthen its diplomatic and economic relations with Africa’s most populous nation.

Funds of $537m have been earmarked for the project, which on completion, estimated to be in 2027, will take the crown as the world’s largest consulate.

Predicted to pour $95m into the local economy, it will employ around 2,500 Nigerians as admin staff, architects, artisans, construction workers and engineers. The 10-floor building will sit on land almost the size of six football pitches.


Paper – and bronze – lions

Reports that a lion was on the loose in the village of Kinyana, a short distance from Mt Kenya National Park, set off alarm bells and sent armed wildlife rangers rushing to the scene.

According to frightened villagers, the lion had been seen lurking in a hedge near the house of one of their neighbours, who was away at the time. When she returned, she met the rangers who warned her of the danger as they cautiously approached the hedge in which the lion was believed to be hiding.

To their astonishment, the lady marched up to the hedge and plucked the ‘lion’ out of the undergrowth. It was nothing more than a shopping bag with a realistic-looking lion’s head photo on it!

The bag in question had been undertaking the very innocent task of drying out some avocado tree seedlings, and had been left in the hedge by the villager, who was relieved to find that her seedlings were all intact. The rangers and the villagers heaved a huge sigh of relief,

celebrating their ‘victory’ over the lion that never was.

Meanwhile, the Born Free Forever Exhibition is touring the UK. It is organised by a foundation that evolved from the classic 1966 wildlife movie Born Free, based on the bestselling book by Joy Adamson. It was based on the true story of raising Elsa, an orphaned lion cub, and her subsequent release back into the wild in Kenya. The starring couple in the film found making it a deeply poignant experience and went on to become champions of conservation, setting up the Born Free Foundation.

When Born Free was made, there were approximately 200,000 lions in the wild. Now, as few as 20,000 remain.

The outdoor exhibition displays 25 incredible bronze sculptures of life-sized lions, including the iconic Elsa on top of a 1961 vintage 4x4 surrounded by lion cubs. It will be in Bristol, UK for three months from 4 July and will move on to Edinburgh in Scotland until the end of the year.

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