By Paul Graham,
Make the laws and back them up. Please allow us to do what we have always done. Let us go from the cages of zoos, circuses and amusements we are kept in. Back to the wild or at least a sanctuary. It is not too late to change this, but if the kind and compassionate do not act…it will be. And then we will be gone from this Earth only to be found in your story books forever more.
“I learned that it is the weak who are cruel and that gentleness is to be
expected only from the strong.”
- Leo Rosten
If I were a lion, people would often refer to me as “The King of the Beasts.” We have been a part of stories, legend and lore from the very beginning. We are majestic. We have complex systems between us and are very social when we are resting, enjoying lots of head rubbing, touching, licking and purring. We live in groups that we call “prides” of around 15 lions. Over the past 50 years or so life has become very difficult for us. Most believe that our numbers are half of what they used to be, but our numbers are even lower than that. There are only between 15,000 and 20,000 of us lions left in Africa, which is our primary habitat. It is estimated that if things remain as they are, we all will be gone in as little as 20 years.
If I were a lion, I would be facing many challenges like habitat loss, conflict with humans, a smaller prey base, climate change and hunting. We are allowed less and less to roam free. The weather is simply not what it used to be and droughts are forcing us into smaller and smaller areas. Men continue to hunt us, whether there are laws against it or not. Trophy hunters from America killed over 500 of us last year alone. Others hunt and kill us and sell our bones openly to Chinese markets for medicinal purposes. They can’t even prove that it helps people but people will buy it anyway. Pieces of us can be found cooked and served in restaurants throughout China and other places. Because so many of us being killed are males, it is throwing off our entire system and is causing others in our prides to die as well. It is the small-mindedness and great greed of men that are killing us off by the day. When we are gone, who will they begin to hunt and come after? Maybe they will begin to hunt each other.
If I were a lion, I could be captured and find myself in a zoo or circus. They say that we are in the zoos for educational purposes, but what are people really learning? To see how unhappy we are to be confined in such small areas and actually face the taunts of the people who are supposed to be there to learn about us and appreciate us? To pace back and forth, wanting every day to be back in the wild with our pride and the way things are supposed to be. We are not meant to be caged. Often times we are not treated well and when we grow old we can sometimes be sold to private parties for more captivity, experimentation or even to be eaten as part of some exotic dinner. In the circus we are kept in even smaller cages where there is no room to even roam, just to lay and think about this miserable existence. We are paraded out in front of people to put on a show. What most don’t see or know about is how they beat and prod us to get us to do what they want. Why do people bring their young to see a magnificent lion reduced down to this as some sort of cheap spectacle? Then we are forced back to that small cage with not enough food or water and no protection from the elements. Why is this even allowed?
If I were a lion, I can see that the end is near. While we have lived and thrived for centuries upon centuries, we are now going away primarily at the hands of men. We have survived many things over the course of time, but we cannot seem to stem the tide on our own as every day we are being picked off one by one. What will the day be like when no one will be able to say that a Lion King exists anymore? People will tell their children about these remarkable creatures who used to roam this Earth. “Why did they die Mommy…did they have to die?” No, we do not have to die. We are not dying just on our own, we in fact are being killed…murdered for the pleasure and profit of men. If I were a lion, I would need your help. Help keep these hunters and poachers away and to protect our lands and habitats. Make the laws and back them up. Please allow us to do what we have always done. Let us go from the cages of zoos, circuses and amusements we are kept in. Back to the wild or at least a sanctuary. It is not too late to change this, but if the kind and compassionate do not act…it will be. And then we will be gone from this Earth only to be found in your story books forever more.
Paul Graham was born and raised in Northern California and has lived in Las Vegas since 2004. He is a top wedding officiate, a green Realtor and writer. He has a daily vegan food blog, Eating Vegan in Vegas which is 365 days and 365 vegan meals in Las Vegas.
Paul’s e-book, Eating Vegan in Vegas: If It Can Happen Here, It Can Happen Anywhere is now available at www.sullivanstpress.com.
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