Life is hard for humans. But even tougher for animals. I was filled with outrage recently when I read of this American dentist who paid 55,000 dollars to shoot a lion in Zimbabwe. Not just any lion. A lion with a name. Cecil.
Let us pause for a moment to talk about Cecil. Writing about this is very emotional for me, but I will try.
Cecil must have grown up in a pride of lions not knowing if he was going to survive. Only one in eight male lions ever made it into adulthood. If they are not killed by adult lions, they die of hunger, injuries or illnesses. Then by the time Cecil would have reached the age of sexual maturity for lions, the other members of the pride would have done the ritual of kicking him out to fend off himself alone, in the wild. Because that is what lions do to males that reach maturity. It’s a bit like how white people make their kids leave home and get jobs after they reach 18. Lions are not like black people, who live with their parents until they get married.
To survive, Cecil would have had to find his own home and this might have involved taking over new territory and possible face aggression from the new pride they will be entering. Cecil did all this and became that one-in-eight male lions that make it to adulthood. Cecil lived until the ripe lion age of 13 and fathered many cubs.
While Cecil was going about the business of catering for his pride, a white American dentist was preparing his bow and arrow with which he would kill the lion. Cecil would eventually get shot, wander around in pain for 40 hours, be tracked down by the dentist and beheaded. Let me get some tissue.
It cost 55,000 dollars to kill Cecil. I know 72 percent of Zimbabweans live on less than 1.25 dollars a day, but I do not know their names. I know Cecil’s name. And today we are talking about Cecil.
I am angry about a few things. Firstly, I am thinking of what 55,000 dollars can do for me. I would easily have let that man shoot me in the thigh or something for half that amount. Cecil would have been alive today. I don’t mind dressing up like an animal since what really gives him the thrill of shooting animals. I would grow a mane if I had to. And I am not even saying the whole amount. Just half.
I know that in the US, there have been at least two black people lost to police-related deaths in the media recently. There was of course global outrage but nothing close to what Cecil got. And that is how it should be. After all, Cecil was said to be the most popular lion in Zimbabwe. The poor black people in Zimbabwe and those black Americans who died at the hands of white police officers are all regular people. It would be unfair to try to compare Cecil, with a regular, unknown black person – Cecil who by sheer dint of hard work, determination and good fortune rose through the ranks and beat the odds to live for 13 years. No.
One thing we know about male lions is that if the head of a pride dies (or say leaves his family to go start a new one elsewhere like some Nigerian men), the male that takes over the pride will kill the cubs of the previous head. Simple self-preservation. Every male lion wants his own children to inherit him, not the children of some other male.
What this means is that not only Cecil, but his entire lineage is now probably wiped out. Think of that. No Cecil junior. Ever. Hold on. I need some tissue.
My only consolation is in the assurance that Cecil is in the hereafter and doing great. Yes. I read this assurance from American Animal Communicator, Karen Anderson who claims to have spoken to Cecil from the afterlife. On her Facebook page, she posted that she was moved to tears when she heard Cecil’s words to her. According to her, and I trust her because she is a professional with her own YouTube videos, website and all, Cecil said the following:
“Let not the actions of these few men defeat us or allow darkness to enter our hearts. If we do then we become one of them. Raise your vibration and allow this energy to move us forward. What happened does not need to be discussed as it is what it is. Take heart my child, I am finer than ever, grander than before as no one can take our purity, our truth or our soul. Ever. I am here. Be strong and speak for all the others who suffer needlessly to satisfy human greed. Bring Light and Love and we will rise above this.”
I am not so devastated after reading those words. It is helpful that Cecil spoke clear articulate English to Karen Anderson. Think if he had spoken in one of the Zimbabwean languages, or even in an accent so strong she couldn’t understand. Then Karen would have thought her skills had failed her and we would all have gone through life depressed about the fate of Cecil. God bless Karen Anderson. God bless Cecil. God bless everyone who has been outraged about this horrific killing.
They say a living dog is better than a dead lion. But not a dead lion with a name. Not Cecil.
Show Cecil you care. Look for an online petition relating to this killing and sign it. Cecil will know. And Cecil will appreciate it.
Ps. A US petition to extradite the lion-killer dentist has surpassed 100,000 signatures. I love it that Americans can rally together when it really matters.