The Roar That Woke Up the World:
Cecil, King of Beasts, Calls Us to Stop the War Against Creation
By Elaine Tselikis (Part 1 of 2)
“Until society realizes that these animal issues are also human issues, we will never be able to effectively problem-solve our way out of this wildlife holocaust…And what we stand to lose is priceless.” ~ Jamie Joseph, Saving The Wild
Most know that Cecil, beloved lion of Hwange National Park – a haven for threatened and endangered animals – was murdered, beheaded and skinned, purportedly by American dentist Walter Palmer. 60% of trophy hunters are Americans who perversely delight in killing lions, elephants, rhinos and other animals dwindling toward extinction.
Tourists – and millions of their dollars – flocked to Cecil. Wild and free, he became acclimated to humans, never harming anyone and teaching them the importance of lions to biodiversity. He provided once-in-a-lifetime experiences to witness his majestic, confident beauty and photograph his family interactions. He was the biggest lion in Zimbabwe, perhaps all of Africa. He was an individual. He was irreplaceable.
Trophy killer/poacher Palmer represents the typical wealthy, egotistical membership of Dallas Safari Club and Safari Club International, which have Maine affiliations. He reportedly paid two Zimbabwe guides $55,000 so he could kill the biggest lion in the land. During the Euro-American slave trade, Africans sold fellow Africans to foreign white slavers. The system continues today, but with the commodity being sentient animals.
Now, in death, Cecil – and all he represents – is even larger and more beloved. Millions follow his large family of 6 lionesses and 12 cubs left behind. The phenomenal interest in his story and how to help endangered wildlife has extended far beyond animal advocates to people in every sector. Until Cecil was murdered, the media reported little on animal genocide, trophy shooters, or the terrorist link to wildlife trafficking. Why has the world taken so long to see what his death reveals to us? And that respect for animal, human and environmental wellbeing is one in the same on a continuum of life?
The lion has always been the most universal iconic species – The King of Beasts – a symbol of power, courage, leadership, trust and spirituality. Cecil’s name contains a potent message: the Latin derivation means “sixth” and its English meaning is “blind.” Scientists affirm we are now in the Sixth Great Extinction – directly caused by human activity. In just 40 years, we have obliterated over 55% of diverse species from the world, diminishing all of us and the earth’s ecological health and intricate balance. Most of us have been blind to these realities.
75% of lions hacked up for trophies are murdered by rich Americans. The United States is the second largest global importer of blood ivory, after China, which is driving the butchering of elephants for trinkets. The U.S. cannot have moral, credible leadership to fight global terrorism funded by illegal wildlife trafficking, protect animals and cultures from extinction, and lead environmental stewardship until we stop our role in the carnage.
Cecil is roaring as extinction looms for his kingdom. Can we hear his urgent cry to stop our madness? Will we take immediate, ongoing actions to protect and enable earth’s LIVING treasures to thrive? We have capacity for compassion and peace. Mainers and many people around the world have awakened to join a tsunami of roaring with Cecil for justice, to stop the war against wildlife now – and develop life-affirming actions, policies and creative economies that produce peaceful co-existence and biodiversity among animals, humans and nature.
In Part 2 of this Post, Cecil roars about our war against creation, exposes the business of death, challenges our prejudices and beliefs, and engages a call to action. Elaine Tselikis is a communications consultant, animal advocate and lifelong Mainer.