Wildlife-Reporter: Your Highness, we are very happy to have you! After the amazing success of 2019’s animation movie – The Lion King – we definitely nominated you the Wildlife character and image of the Year, before even the year ended! How are you doing?
The Lion King: Thank you for having me! Indeed, for a short time, as the latest version of the movie “The Lion King” was rolling in the cinemas, our species got the a lot of sympathy from people of all ages around the world! However, did you know that in reality, between the release of the first version of “The Lion King” in 1994 until now, so in just 25 years, the number of wild lions reduced in half?
W-R: How is that possible? The movie didn’t share such tragic message…I was not aware!
L.K.: Indeed most people are too busy with their daily routines… And the movie was offering only a distraction to that routine, and bit of entertainment for the young ones, but doesn’t reflect our reality…
W-R: Is the mighty Lion King losing the fight against the Hyenas?
L.K.: Far from that…another human world stereotype! In our world, as opposed to Hollywood’s virtual world, we don’t have good characters and bad characters, we are all part of the same world, lions and hyenas, zebras and other animals and plants, locked in a permanent race for survival, but somehow always in a natural state of balance – the famous cycle of life! Hyenas are only our competitors in the Savannah, but they are doing a great sanitary service to the ecosystem, and they are not the cause of our disappearance! Animals are an easy subject of the media since they cannot protest, they can be inserted into any story as a positive or negative hero. Loss of prey species, loss of habitat, and human encroachment (agriculture, hunting and poaching) have caused our numbers to precipitously decline in the wild! But that has only led to a very concerning fact: in order to satisfy the demand of Western hunters, our kind is now bred and grown to maturity, legally, across Africa, in so called “lion farms” and sold to be killed for sport…not quite a royal death, I would say! Another earlier movie – Mia and the White Lion – has quite well captured this reality!
W-R: But will your fans around the world be able to help your kind?
L.K.: No doubt some of our human fans help a lot, through donations, by raising awareness of our reality or simply visiting national parks, where our kind is usually the main attraction…But we have lost already 94% of our historical range, and this is part of a bigger picture. Human world today looks rather similar with Hyenas world in the movie, where nature’s sustainable balance has been broken, there are no other species around and even the grass stopped growing! The human laws today are above Nature, serving only themselves, especially the top 1%…and another big majority, especially urban population, living in a state of “Hakuna Matata”, where good life is a guarantee and not much responsibility is desired! There is less and less room for wildlife and nature in the human world! Man is born into a world of artificially created institutions which are the only ones he considers to be objective and natural, standing apart from truly natural processes! And the impenetrable barrier only deepens between the realm of nature and culture! In this division nature is passive. It embodies irrationality, instinct and therefore primitivity!
W-R: If there was an All-Mighty Human King, what should he do to reverse the trend in a better direction, for humans, wildlife and Nature together?
L.K.: As said in the movie, the compassion is the main quality of a king, but not only, should be of each person, because change must start with each of you! A world without its biodiversity will be a different world, one of loneliness, one of suffering… even if the latest technology makes lions look very real on the cinema screen, the virtual world is no substitute for the real one! Human societies and leaders should be wiser today, think more long term, drive the change, educate others, do the right things…you have this responsibility, and you need to embrace it, as the dominant species of the Planet! Objective is to overcome the imaginary boundary between wildlife, nature and man, only this will enable a society to view nature as a place where all organisms can live together!
W-R: Is there still hope?
L.K.: There is always hope! But hoping without acting, that is dreaming! Think how you can help, set a number of objectives, learn, make some changes in your lifestyle to make it more nature friendly, influence other where you can and visit wildlife national parks, and spend more time in nature!
W-R: Thank you, Your Highness! Hope our worlds will never set apart, and we will meet again, in the African savanna next time!