Image above of Cecil, taken from http://cecilthelion.org/gallery/
Words cannot describe how saddened I am to hear about the brutal death of Cecil the lion – one of Zimbabwe’s most iconic lions.
For those of you who don’t know what happened, Cecil, a 13-year-old lion that lived in Zimbabwe and was being studied by scientists from Oxford University since 1999 was killed by American trophy hunter, Walter James Palmer.
According to the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, the hunt was not legal and Cecil was lured into private property in order for the hunter to kill him.
Now, we need to honor Cecil’s life. The death of this magnificent lion has sparked a movement to bring change to the trophy hunting industry, as well as conservation efforts in Zimbabwe and beyond.
In fact, our fabulous Hills of Africa clients, Pamela Robinson and Mark Robinson of Exclusive Adventures, created a fundraising page in honor of Cecil the lion. Pamela had the privilege of seeing Cecil whilst on safari in Zimbabwe in 2014 and has some incredible footage of Cecil walking in the Hwange plains.
Here is Pamela’s video of Cecil when she visited Zimbabwe in 2014:
We want to help Save the Lions of Hwange and Zimbabwe for future generations. Visit the fundraising page, Save the Lions – In Memory of Cecil, and be a part of the change. Here’s the link to the fundraising page: http://www.gofundme.com/cecilthelion
Save the Lions – In Memory of Cecil is a crowdfunding effort that will donate 100% of any monies received directly to Jimmy Kimmel’s favorite charity WildCru. Once the LION CONSERVATION & WILDLIFE FUND (LCWF) finalizes their non-profit creation, we will move some of the monies received to LCWF.
The killing of Cecil sheds light on some of the greater conservation issues facing Zimbabwe and other protected wildlife reserves of Africa.
The Save the Lions – In Memory of Cecil initiative is focused on implementing better conservation efforts in an effort to reduce and eradicate wildlife killings through poaching and trophy hunting.
Additionally, T-shirts are being produced to honor Cecil’s memory with 100% of the funds received from the sale of the T-shirts being donated to these same organizations. Go here to buy a Shoot Photos, Not Lions tshirt: http://booster.com/inmemoryofcecilthelion
And the way I see it is that Cecil is leaving a legacy for change. It’s ok to be outraged about his killing and express this frustration. But we must take this energy and passion and use it toward the greater good to facilitate change.
We need to all work together to look after our environment, our people, our land, and our animals. It’s important to make sure we promote tourism across the world to raise awareness for wildlife conservation and help bring in money to support local economies and conservation programs through tourism.
I encourage you to help support tourism to Africa and Zimbabwe, my beautiful homeland. Zimbabwe has some of the best game viewing in the world (I know I am biased, but come with me and see for yourself). The people of Zimbabwe have the biggest, brightest smiles and the tourism operators here need our support.
Cecil has died. Yes. I will not forget. I do however want you to know that there are a lot more lions in Hwange National Park and Zimbabwe, which we all want you to see. The elephants are gorgeous too, as are the hippos, zebras, giraffes and other animals.
It’s time to conserve our wildlife. #saveourlionsLCWF
We want you to be a part of change – we are asking for your support to help save the lions of Hwange and Africa. Lion Conservation and Wildlife Fund is being put together by a group of driven Zimbabweans who are passionate about wildlife and want to protect the last lions. So share with everyone and let’s protect our wildlife.
And I must share this beautiful, yet heart-paining poem written about Cecil:
(In Memory of Cecil The Lion)
Where once you roamed a gentle soul,
With a fierce face and eyes of coal,
But ever still the beast you were,
Like a loving king in a lions fur.
You gave a smile to a world in awe
And shouted back with a gentle roar,
Then raised your Cubs on the barrow land
Where human sit and lions stand.
But now you’ve gone just time remains
And human hands show bloody stains
So goodnight Cecil and rest in peace,
You remain a king in a Golden Fleece.
~ Peter D Hehir