I am Cecil. I am Africa. I am a lion.
I battle to grasp man’s relentless exploitation and injury to this beautiful world, the manipulation over centuries, with no end in sight. I have to ask, probe, and dissect; yet I fail to understand.
Man cannot change his past, but he can shape his future. He cannot change the bygone atrocities of the slave trade, or the inhumane brutality of Apartheid, or the bloodthirsty greed that resulted in millions of Africa’s wildlife being wiped out by colonial masters on expedition in Africa. He cannot change history when Western demand for ivory in the 19th century caused the death and destruction of millions of elephants, all for the sake of piano keys, billiard balls and ivory buttons for the gentry of the day. He has simply obliterated lions, elephants, rhinoceros with gunpowder and bloody intent for far too long.
However, man can alter what is to come. He can educate his youth, his leaders of tomorrow, the imminent caretakers of Africa’s pride and heritage. He owes it to his future and the destiny of Africa’s heritage, to let it be known that he has made a difference. He needs to take a stance, to say no more; no more exploitation of Earth’s natural heritage.
Does man’s education systems enlighten his youth about the historic and continuous slaughter of Africa’s wildlife by the invaders from the rest of the world? Does he teach that 26 million elephants roamed Africa 500 years ago, with barely 350 000 surviving today? Does he teach his children that foreigners, with their Dollars and Pounds and Euros and Chinese Yuan come to Africa to destroy his children’s heritage? Does he coach his children that Africa’s wildlife is a fundamental part of the collective and that elephants, rhinoceros and lions were here before him? Does he teach his youth that Africa loses 4 elephants an hour, a rhinoceros every 7 hours and a lion every 5 hours? Does he say to the world they can come and see, but they cannot take what is not theirs?
His children and the world have been taught and know that the slave trade was the biggest sacrifice and humiliation Africa had to endure, a loss of dignity, history immersed in Hollywood blockbusters that yield millions of dollars, that tell a story of what went so wrong. Does he want future generations to only see on film what was; the giants of the African savannahs, the tuskers, the Kings of Africa, the 50 million year old rhinoceros? Does he want to elevate future actors, producers and directors of entertainment above Africa’s animal kingdom, because artistic prowess can portray extinction in a non-humane way for the benefit of the crowds? And at what cost?
Will it not be more visionary for Africans and the world to say no? No to wealthy safari hunters who want to use 21st century technology to enter Africa’s doorsteps, knowing so well that less than 350 00 elephants survive on the plains or in the forests of Africa, where less than 30 000 lions of my kind scramble for survival.
Reality is so easily disguised by rich men, who kill for pleasure and narcissistic indulgence of such extreme order, it stenches in the minds of the silent majority. Why are so many silent, simply intent to carve out an existence in a world of conflict where the existence of endangered wildlife are at the bottom of the ladder of species survival?
Do the egos of a small minority of American and European hunters stretch so far beyond their mindfulness, without own judgment, willing to sacrifice the future of another continent’s species for yet another consecutive century? The onslaught against Africa’s heritage continues in modern times, an ancient tradition of nauseating patriarchs from other worlds, intent in prolonging their despicable parental mentors’ antediluvian minds onto their progenies. These pitiable doctrines of manhood intensify the slaughter of our species, unable to defend itself against the power of man’s ego and technology.
Such a world we live in. Is it a matter of time before Asia’s modern economic uprising cause the atrocities of the past in Africa by colonial masters and modern western hunters to be dwarfed by Asia’s preoccupied disorder of beating Western nations in the race to supremacy? Will demand for ivory, rhino horn, pangolin, lion or tiger bone in China and Vietnam obscure Western nations’ derelict moral standards of exploitation in Africa to such an extent that humanity will be indoctrinated to lay the blame of extinction of species on 21st century Asian demand and ignorance? Will any nation accept blame for the extinction of my Africa’s wildlife pride for the rest of humanity’s history? Why must the hunters of the West be the custodians of another continent’s wildlife? What right does a donor country with 6000 sea miles of separation have to exploit ubiquitous corruption in developing economies at the highest level, for the sole purpose of manipulating policy for favours to indulge in tradition off bygone eras?
Will the era of obfuscation by wealthy hunter organisations and their in-pocket congressional lobbyists, who all thrive on Africa’s corrupt political elite, prolong mayhem on African savannahs for another few decades? When will this animal genocide be ended by the voice of the majority?
A digital conservation movement has uneased the wealthy elite on several continents, unable to stem the tide of the voice of the majority. It is that majority that speaks for us, the voiceless, roaming the African savannahs.
I am Africa. I am Cecil and I am a lion. I salute the millions of humans who have raised their voices against the tide of man’s destruction. Left unchallenged, this egotistical creed will lead to Earth’s demise. My spirit, my legacy will endure in forums to give all of Mother Earth a chance of survival. I am the mascot for pangolins, whales, elephants, dolphins, rhinos, lions, leopards and all others.
Women of the world: You are the educators of the future. Without us, you and your children are none. Together, we are one. Speak out, your world needs ours, our world needs yours. Never stay silent, we are inter-dependent, forever.
Men of humans, your time has come. Stand aside. I am Cecil, I am Africa and I am a lion. Let your mothers, your loved ones and your daughters show you the path to co-existence. For too long, you have failed to understand.