What We Can Learn From Cecil the Lion
Over the last two decades, Africa has lost between 30-50% of it’s lions and now far less than 32,000 animals remain.
Why is this happening?
- Habitat loss – as human populations expand more and more land is being lost to farming causing lion populations to become fragmented and their prey species depleted
- Trophy Hunting – in some countries trophy hunting, which involves the selective killing of wild animals, including lions, for sport, is still legal.
- Trade – in South East Asia wild lion bones and other body parts are increasingly sought after for use in so-called traditional medicine.
- Entertainment – around the world zoos and circuses keep lions captive for our entertainment
You might have read about this sad story recently, of how one of Africa’s most famous lion’s was killed for sport – at a reported price tag of £35k.
The kill has been attributed to a dentist from Minnesota, who supposedly lured Cecil illegally out of his home in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park with the help of his game guides. He then shot the 13-year old lion with a bow and arrow, before finishing the kill with a rifle 40 hours later, after which Cecil was decapitated and skinned.
As Ricky Gervais noted:
It’s not for food. It’s not the shooting, or tin cans would do. It must just be the thrill of killing. Mental.
Another upsetting consequence is the effect Cecil’s death will have on the rest of the pride. The 24 cubs are likely to be killed by older males from other prides, driven by their innate fight to be alpha male.
It’s easy to feel helpless, angry or depressed about news like this.
However, I’m determined to find some silver lining to this story, that has been spread all over the world.
It takes time for lasting change to occur. Eventually, through awareness, education and influence, old customs can be eradicated.
In time, future generations hopefully will not look on hunting for sport in the same way. I just hope the change can come quickly enough.
If Cecil’s death taught us anything, it’s that we have work to do – and not much time to do it.
What can we do to help?
1) Visit Born Free Foundation, an international animal welfare and conservation charity that takes action worldwide to save lives, stop suffering and protect species in the wild.
2) Adopt a big cat
For £2.50 a month you can make sure a lion like Cecil gets the food and shelter they need. Find out more here.
3) Get a Cecil t-shirt to raise awareness
I designed an Animal Charitee to raise awareness about Cecil’s story, and other endangered animals who are being hunted for sport.
For every t-shirt sold, 50% of the profits will go directly to the Born Free Foundation and the work they do to end the exploitation and cruel treatment of the world’s incredible wildlife.
4) Share – take a minute to share this article with friends, family – you can find our social handles here:
Born Free Foundation
Once again thank you for all your support in this campaign, and last month’s ‘Primates Not Playmates‘ campaign – we hit our goal and the campaign was a roaring (sorry!) success.