“Effective immediately, Delta Airlines will officially ban shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies worldwide as freight.”
VICTORY!! Big Cat Rescue asked you to let Delta Airlines know that animal lovers do not want international airlines to continue to transport exotic animal trophies such as Cecil. More than 5,000 of you took action for the big cats!!! And today Delta has finally agreed. This is fantastic news for all endangered and threatened big cats and other animals being hunted across the globe.
In the days since the circumstances surrounding the death of Cecil the lion came to light, at least 20 airlines have shown their commitment to protecting wildlife by implementing or clarifying existing bans on the transport of hunting trophies.
While companies like Delta, Virgin Airways, United Airlines and KLM are moving in the right direction, one airline has taken a detour. Despite instituting a ban in late April, South African Airways recently resumed the transport of hunting trophies because of pressure from commercial trophy hunting interests
With Cecil’s death, the world has come to realize the truly horrific nature of trophy hunting. Africa’s wild animals are part of our global heritage and must be protected from needless slaughter for the sake of a head-hunting exercise. By giving trophy hunters — and poachers — a way to transport pieces of these majestic creatures, South African Airways is providing a getaway vehicle for the theft of Africa’s wildlife.
I have a theory. I can’t prove it, but it feels right to me. Tell me in the comments if it makes sense to you, or what you believe.
I believe that we all are part of one universal consciousness that is becoming enlightened through this dance of perceived time, space and sense of individuality. I think we sign up for our lot in life before we ever arrive on this stage, with the intent of playing our role toward the end goal of nirvana. Maybe it is just a coping mechanism, meant to protect me from utter despair, which fosters hope that Cecil signed up for his heroic role too.
Centuries of humans destroying the planet and everything that is beautiful and magnificent, to pursue personal wealth and status, has brought on the sixth mass extinction, with lives being extinguished at rates that are 10,000 times the norm. The mounting evidence, of the destruction being caused, hasn’t been enough to make the masses stop and take notice, but Cecil did.
When Cecil the lion was lured from a protected area, onto private land to be brutally shot with a bow and arrow, caused to suffer for 40 hours as he ran for his life, only to be gunned down by a rich American, so that his head and skin could be stolen as a trophy; it was an act so egregious that just about everyone was outraged.
For days his plight made every media outlet even though animal abuse is rarely discussed in mainstream media, for fear of offending industries who profit from animal suffering by being massive advertisers.
Social media first broke the news of Cecil’s torture and slaying, and the public outcry was so enormous that mainstream media couldn’t ignore it. Jane Velez-Mitchell from CNN passionately spoke about how we have finally reached a tipping point in our attitudes toward animal protection at the Animal Rights Conference 2015 in Washington, DC on August 1.
“The evolution revolution is a process; not an event and we are headlong into that process.” said Jane Velez-Mitchell
I’ve been busy providing interviews to CNN, ABC and Fox, as well as a number of newspaper reporters and documentarians, but in between educating them about the nature of lions and their plight, I’ve been trying to look at this from the 30,000 foot level. What is it about Cecil’s story that so moved everyone? What made this lion different from the hundreds of thousands of lions who have been massacred since the 1940’s when there were estimated to be 450,000 of them in the wild?
I can’t help but think about how many of us first learned to read by following the heroes in comic books like Batman. We grew up loving the storyline of a hero bringing the evil villain to justice, for his crime against a sympathetic victim. All we had to do was shine that bat symbol on the night time sky (expose the issue) and we knew that justice would soon be served. From what I’ve seen, most people want their part in Cecil’s justice to be that they easily sign their name to a petition and lions will be protected. That’s a start…but it’s only a start.
Thanks to Cecil we are all shining the light on the issue. But here’s the mind bending part. We are all Batman. We are all the victim. We might all be the villain as well. That’s the part I can’t quite wrap my head around. Do some of us sign up before we enter this life to be evil incarnate, just to cause the massive mind shift that is necessary to become our better selves? Or are we all on a path, to realising that we are really all ONE, and those that we perceive as evil aren’t really a part of the collective soul, but rather are a projection we make to fool ourselves into action? Sort of like the endangered species that were projected onto the Empire State Building on August first 2015. The images were to make us think about what we are doing.
Some things we don’t know and can’t know; but there are some things that we do know.
We do know that most people (96% of Americans) care about protecting animals from cruelty and that every year that number grows as the older generations, and their outdated beliefs die out.
We do know that now vegetarians outnumber hunters. A 2011 poll showed that 13 million Americans are hunters and that has been a dying sport. Hunt clubs have been desperately trying enlist children under the age of 16 and battered women, in an effort to bolster their numbers. A 2014 poll revealed that there are 15 million Americans who proclaim to be vegetarians 100% of the time and 50 million who say they are vegetarians 50% of the time. 400-500 million fewer animals were eaten in the past few years as a result, despite climbing human populations.
But why isn’t the outrage as strong yet, against those who perpetuate the exploitation of cubs, as it was against the dentist who poached Cecil the lion this summer? Cecil had the benefit of being raised by his own mother and living free for 13 years. Lion, tiger, liger and leopard cubs who are bred and pimped out by outfits like the GW Zoo, Kevin Antle’s TIGERS, Dade City’s Wild Things and others never had the benefit of being raised by their mothers or living wild and free.
Maybe the difference is that their ultimate plight is hidden from view? Being shot with an arrow and then with a gun are a pretty gruesome way to die, but the public isn’t privy to the suffering, neglect and disposal of captive cubs when they grow up. They quietly disappear behind closed gates and doors.
Maybe it is because we didn’t know their name? T.S. Elliott famously opined that regardless of the names we may give a cat…
“But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover –
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.”
I don’t know why we have been so slow as a people, to protect lion and tiger cubs, but I think, if we did, we could end the practice of keeping wild cats in cages. I may not know if Cecil signed up for this awakening, but I do know that he made a difference, and YOU can too.
Hunters keep trying to over rule what the vast majority of you want. Hunters want to kill bobcats. Most people want them to live in peace in the forest.
After you asked Gov. Quinn to veto the hunt, he looked at the data himself and saw that the State’s bobcat populations must continue to be protected for everyone’s interest. Despite his efforts to protect nature, in January 2015, bobcat hunting and trapping bills were introduced again.
Bobcat photo by Stan Mysliwiec
Bobcats are elusive and their populations are difficult to monitor with good research methods, making them particularly susceptible to over exploitation. If DNR has only unreliable population monitoring data, and wildlife professionals have not had a chance to develop a plan to manage for healthy populations, the State should not condone hunting.
Bobcats are killed for their pelts, which bring $90 a piece in the international market to China and other overseas countries. CITES reports that more than 57,000 bobcats die and exported this way each year. This is a cruel way to kill off our natural treasures to fill an un necessary demand for fur trimmed garments abroad.
The consensus among some wildlife biologists is that the Illinois bobcat population (estimated at a mere 3,000 animals concentrated in the southern 17 counties) can only withstand a hunt of 100-200. Some argue, this will even be too much to allow for growth and dispersion into other suitable habitat in the State.
Don’t let blood thirsty killers dictate prudent recovery of this ecologically important and beautiful species. Tell your lawmakers to oppose the bobcat hunting bills HB 352 and SB 106.