From that very moment, I became enchanted with lions and other big cats...
So... you see, lions are embedded in my nature. I became obsessed and knew that one day I would visit them in their natural habitat. As I grew up, I surrounded myself with cats and have studied their behaviour ever since. Now, as an adult I am still studying big cats and feel a huge tug to the heart when I hear of any irreverence towards them. This, I believe, is a path I need to follow... to raise some kind of awareness and to make a difference.
There has always been a connection with cats for me. In some cases, more than humans. Sadly, I was not intellectual at school but always enjoyed writing stories and taking pictures. Now, however, I write this blog in the hope that people will acknowledge my plight.
Yesterday, a link was shared through The Born Free Foundation, regarding lions. It was bad news. The species has suffered a terrible decline recently, and it is down to serious hunting and poaching. Unfortunately, The Americans are the world's largest importer of lions and lion parts. This is down to trophy hunting, mainly. A petition has been raised by various wildlife experts to list the lions as endangered (U.S. Endangered Species Act). This hopefully, will significantly reduce the pressure off lions and allow experts to responsibly take action to save the species.
A world without lions is unthinkable. It would be a void within the very core of all our psyches. The Panthera lineage includes the lion, leopard, jaguar, tiger, snow leopard and clouded leopard. All of these cats are endangered. All of them beautiful, surviving against and with the laws of nature. It is because of man that these animals suffer. Not nature. It is because of their surpassing beauty, wisdom and refined skills, that some humans wish to steel a part of it, to nourish an ego, decorate their wall or feel the real fur on their own backs. I believe it is rich, bored, ignorant and senseless folk who have nothing better to do with their time and money than to kill innocent creatures. It does not impress and is a purely selfish act. If it takes murdering an animal to boost one's self esteem... then that person must lead an empty and unfulfilled life. Sad. Very sad. To believe, also, that being rich enables one to do as they please is very shallow. But it really is the case. Privately owned wildlife parks in South Africa are funded by such people, paying thousands of dollars to hunt lions in enclosed spaces. This is known as 'Canned Hunting'.
So... it remains to be said, man must stop interfering with wild animals. Watch them from a distance and observe their behavioural patterns. Learn from their wisdom and respect them. Needless to say, the killing has to stop. Tigers and leopards dislike each other, but have learnt how to be cohabitant, by being elusive yet respecting one another. The insidious behaviour is not by carnivore but by poachers. They hide and hunt down to kill, with weapons and traps. A dangerous and deadly world, in order to make a living. Should they be confronted - no mercy. Look what happened to George Adamson - "Father of The Lions", assassinated in 1989, because of his devoted efforts to preserve and reinstate lions back in to the wild. He was murdered by poachers.
Is it fear that prevents a world of animal lovers from saving our natural heritage? Why are poachers so powerful? Yes, we would all love to be comfortably well off, but money truly is the root of all evil. It has its own set of rules. If it pays... kill it. If one can pay... find something to kill. Its a treacherous cycle of life.
Now, imagine the Savannah.... empty of golden, majestic lions. Watch as the last remaining cubs witness the slaughtering of their parents... then, only to meet their own death by starvation. Slow, painful suffering.... caused by man.
When I first imagined saying goodbye to the lions - I had a lump in my throat - for real. They touch all our lives and enhance our planet. I felt a feeling of severe loss. In fact, you could liken this to a state of altruism. My existence may only be a blip within the magnificence of the universe, however, so long as I am breathing, I wish to see the lions and all other big cats benefitting from the kindness, understanding and bravery of those who do care... Please... save the lion! Our lion.