Exclusive interview with the Lion King

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!

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Exclusive interview with the Brown Bear

Wildlife-Reporter: Wow, I see you have put on same weight since we last met! What happened?

Mr. Bear: Well, this is nothing, you should see my cousin from Kodiak, twice my size! It’s winter time and as you know, food is more scarce, so we have been gorging during the summer, eating pretty much everything, from grass to salmons, from insects to wild flowers, from forest raspberries to wild honey, from…

W-R: Never mind, before I get hungry…we invited you for an exclusive interview, as you are our nomination for 2018 most famous wildlife icon! And we promise not to keep you long, as we know you must be on your way to winter residence for the long hibernation sleeps! How have you been?

Mr. B: We, bears, are creatures of habit, shy and peaceful, so we try not to capture much attention, while getting on with our routine! That is why we acquired some nocturnal habits, to avoid company of men. And as always, we are mostly busy with… surviving! That involves storing enough fat for winter, raising our cubs and avoiding humans!

W-R: And how well do you manage to… survive?

Mr. B: We are pretty good at that, our kind evolved to be one of the most competitive large species in nature! We out-strong or out-smart our natural enemies, we have keen senses, we eat pretty much everything and we are very creative in finding the food, we can endure harshest weather conditions and our organism is adapted to recycling the nitrogen from our waste during the winter sleep and turning it into muscle building proteins thus coming stronger in spring and ready to resume activity immediately! We have no real natural predators, except for our own kind, large males which may be a threat to our cubs! But we are doing rather poor when coming to avoiding impact from human activity, our real protection here is the weather, while before modern human society we inhabited most of the planet (from African continent to North Pole, from Tibet to Mexico and up all the way to Alaska), now we retrieved to colder Northern regions or very remote mountain locations!

W-R: Which are the main human related threats, if I may ask?

Mr. B: Direct threats like trophy hunting, but also indirect ones through destruction of our main habitats, global warming (mainly for the Polar cousin) or poaching for our bladder, an organ of zero nutritional value to humans, but highly appreciated in Chinese culture, for its presumed magical powers! To these bile eaters I say one thing: If you want to be strong as a bear, don’t eat parts of the bear, but live like a bear, as only the strongest survive in our environment!

W-R: What about the human protection you get in the national parks?

Mr. B: We do appreciate the national parks, and we thank all our fans to come and see us, and teach their children and friends about us and about the places where we live! If it wouldn’t be for such places, we would have no presence in many places which we have always inhabited. Thanks to our fans and the boost that the local tourism gets, we are allowed to exist under protection and do what we know best, to survive, as wild bears! But these national parks cannot be our only home, nature doesn’t work like this, we need space, we sometimes need to migrate to other regions to avoid isolation and in-breeding, we need to live by nature’s law where strongest males father the new generations rather then decorating the wall of a rich hunter! We are the symbol itself of all there is, wild and free!

W-R: What should people learn, why it is so important for bears to continue being part of this new world, which is changing too fast under our own eyes?

Mr. B: Humans need to understand that bears, as well as other large carnivores, represent the top-chain of healthy ecosystems, that are providing free services worth trillions to human kind, but which are sensitive and whose resources are not able to regenerate faster than current exploitation levels! There cannot be a healthy ecosystem without carnivores, and there cannot be human kind in long run without a sustainable ecosystem! We are all part of this world, as we know it, remove one piece, and this world will turn into something else, totally different, with many unpredictable consequences!

W-R: Thank you Mr. Bear, we cannot agree more! And to conclude with, a poem for all to read, from one of your fans! And for those fans who would like to see you “live” in action, fishing salmons in Katmai/Alaska (during season), here is access to the parks video cameras: Live from Katmai

“I am bear. I am not just “a” bear. I am the forest. I am the fragile ecosystem. I am the running streams, the canopy of the pines, the whistling winds, the fertile soil, and the radiant sun. I am everything that is natural, beautiful, and mysterious in the universe. I am not one of many. I am all that is one. I am bear.” Poem by Jennifer S. Clayburg

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Exclusive interview with the “Big Bad” Wolf

Wildlife-Reporter: If we had a “TIME” magazine type of nomination, you would definitely be on the cover of the 2017 edition. Not once you made the headline in Europe, you made a remarkable comeback in Greece, France, Italy, Germany and even Belgium (article example), you have been subject of conflict between wildlife protection NGOs and government in Norway, and it is 3rd year in a row when the famous Yellowstone National Park in U.S. exceeds 4 Mil tourists, where you are the main attraction!

Mr. Wolf: Usually for us attracting human attention means troubles, that is how you would explain our nocturnal habits, shy nature and illusive appearance! Nevertheless is true and there is hope, that with support of NGOs, we may take back our place in the ecosystem in Europe! But our recent comeback is rather due to abundant wild prey (after an extended period without predators) and our survival and adaptability skills, but future is far from secured, under threat by hunting, poaching, loss of habitat (including lack of natural corridors to unite our wild populations) and human transport networks, more and more developed and wildlife un-friendly! Without human society understanding and acceptance, we may lose this survival battle and we may be bound to limited spaces within ZOOs or national parks, as element of tourism industry and not as an essential part of a healthy ecosystem!

W-R: How the nick-name “Big Bad” Wolf was attributed to you and sticked for such log time?

Mr. W: Personally I prefer the nick-name “Guardian of the forest”, as it is closer to our role in the ecosystem, being on the nature’s top of the food chain, regulating the number of herbivores, which would otherwise multiply too much and would exhaust the food resources! It is a typical natural predator-prey relationship, assuring the ecosystem balance and long-term survival of predator, prey and plants! The term “Big” is rather subjective of human imagination, we are not bigger than some dogs for example, our size is perfectly suited to environment and size of wild prey we rely on, and the term “Bad” does not even find a place in nature, where as I mentioned, we all live in a balanced dependency, this is the natural state of a healthy eco-system, there is no such thing as good or bad wild animal, each has its role in the ecosystem!

W-R: Tell us more about yourself, what people should learn?

Mr. W: Our relationship with humans goes back more than 40.000 years ago, and has not always been bad. Some early humans were benefiting from our hunting skills and were often taking our prey but also some of our ancestors found in people a source of security, and they left the wilderness to be now part of human societies, these are modern day dogs, also called “human’s best friend”! But most of us continued our way in the wilderness, as we did for millions of years. We are not so different from people in certain regards, we have a complex family structure around an Alpha pair, we communicate between each-other, we defend a territory, we compete with our kind as well as other predators for food, to be able to raise our families, which, same as with humans, is our top priority, human parents can understand this!

W-R: How does a typical day in your life look like?

Mr. W: Depends really on the season! In winter we live in an extended pack format, we are more sociable and very mobile, we could easily cover 40 to 60 km in one night, as we are not bound to one place since our babies have grown and they can keep up with us. Most activity is focused on hunting, where tasks are split between team members. In a pack, as well as with help of deeper snow, it should be easier for us to make a successful hunt, but not all wild animals we encounter are being turned into food, we rely on our senses to detect certain weaknesses in our prey, mainly old age and possible diseases. With this, we may have the chance to catch our food once per week, that is a 1 in 10 chance of success! In summer, in a light pack format, we are bound to our nursery place, where we have to return after every meal we find, to feed our youngsters as well the dedicated nurse wolf assigned to take care of the cubs! And regardless of season, we are also busy protecting from other predators, or marking the boundaries of our territory to keep other packs at distance!

W-R: Did you eat the Red Riding Hood or not?

Mr. W: Continuously hunted and persecuted by people during centuries, we learned to associate the smell of people with danger, from early age, even if we never saw a human before. Therefore we run away at first human scent, normally never get close to humans. In rare case, when a wolf catches rabies, it may than get closer and bite people, or anything that comes across! Otherwise, humans have nothing to fear, wolves do not bite nor eat humans! On the contrary, it is our kind being hunted, trapped, poisoned, cursed, blamed and driven to extinction by humans! However folklore has its role in influencing humans, what is interesting is that at an early age children rather like wolves and other wild animals and nature, it is later on that their opinion changes in the opposite direction, and here people need to work more on education and keeping touch with nature in order to avoid this derail.

W-R: What about the ubiquitous accusations from part of farmers and killing of their livestock?

Mr. W: These accusations are surely over-exaggerated! Studies proved that a cow is statistically more likely to be hit by thunder, ran by a car or die from diseases, rather than being killed by a wolf. Sheep can also be easily protected by guarding dogs, very old and efficient method! Exceptions happen, and this is also human’s fault, when live-stock is left to graze in wild areas without guarding dogs, and wild prey is exceptionally rare, and when young wolves, potentially orphaned by hunters, may have to attack live-stock or face starvation!

W-R: Any wishes for 2018 and beyond?

Mr. W: Our biggest existential threat today is human misunderstanding! If people would understand our role in the ecosystem, and how the ecosystem and planet really work, we would all be able to live side by side, in harmony, as we did for millions of years! I wish therefore more understanding, peace, more wisdom and a healthy ecosystem for all to share and enjoy! And to all people fans, wishing you an excellent holiday time, together with dear ones, Merry Christmas and a Happy 2018 Year, full of good news from wilderness!

Mr W