I get told constantly that greed is all around us. But I disagree.
Greed lurks in corners and congregates in old buildings with fancy architecture.
Greed is an opportunist, a parasite on the good-natured and ill-informed, but it’s not everywhere.
It’s a feeder on ignorance; without ignorance, greed’s lineage is cut short.
Greed’s voice is loud, which is why we can feel encompassed by it, but a loud voice is no less a lone one.
This week the world winced and mourned when a 13-year-old lion named Cecil died at the hands of a trophy hunter. Unlike many reporting on the incident, I don’t feel inclined to mention his name, his nationality, or the price of the kill.
It wasn’t a nationality that sort a trophy, it wasn’t an individual that structured an entire trade (or system that relied upon it) nor was it a price tag that caused a culture of killing for sport. And when the beautiful Cecil has left our newspapers and our thoughts; endless, nameless lions will face the same fate, unnoticed. I know because it’s already happening.
It’s been happening for a long time.
Back in April, I joined #GlobalMarchforLions demonstration at Trafalgar Square, culminating in the delivery of a petition to South Africa House, to call for an end to canned hunting, and lion ‘farming’ being advertised as a tourist activity.
One of the main things I wrote about at the time was how difficult it was to find the right information about hunting and canned hunting (animals ‘bred for the bullet’ in farms).
The only good thing to come out of the loss of Cecil is the opportunity to have those conversations (see above), of which Born Free Foundation’s Dom Dyer seems to be at the helm. The same Dom Dyer that rallied the campaigners back in April.
The difference between now and the springtime march, is that now we have the whole world paying attention. We have a hero, a villain, a victim and a mob; created by the media, and no doubt the papers will neatly round up this tale with a resolve: someone will be prosecuted, someone will pay the price, justice will be served. Except it won’t, for the hundreds or thousands more creatures that will face this fate if we don’t make the story bigger than Cecil, about more than greed.
I read the following on The Telegraph’s website this week:
Now that’s probably the single most greed-fuelled take on Cecil’s story that I have heard, but remember how I said a loud voice is no less a lone voice?
I also said an individual did not structure a trade, and I too believe that an individual cannot end it. But good can prevail over greed if good people come together to make a difference, and over the last week, that’s exactly what I’ve been seeing!
Many voices coming together over one cause, against the minority who have the means, money and lack of compassion to continue baiting and killing wild beasts. Against the greedy.
I asked Nick Stephenson to perform the song ‘Born Free’ at my World of Wildlife Exhibition at the start of the month, and he’s allowed me to share a recording of it here; in retaliation to those words: “Cecil the lion was born free… if you care about animals, privatise them”
Want to come together and make a difference?
Here’s a couple of ways to join forces to triumph over greed:
Sign the Petition to stop global airline companies from transporting dead, endangered species “trophies” around the world. If airlines refused, illegal trophy hunters would be stuck and the lions would be safe. Emirates has already announced a ban — others need to join them without delay!
Or join the Lion Aid march on the terrace above Trafalgar Square in London on August 22nd at 3pm!
See you there, to roar loudly! Together.