By Viviana Andrea Lozada Rodríguez (8th semester undergraduate FIGRI student, English through Multimedia elective)
Humans have always felt curious about wildlife, while lions are the most magnificent creatures of the wild. They have a special connection with human beings.
Despite the popular belief that lions are just wild animals that can kill you with a single bite, a lot of humans have dared to establish a strong friendship with them.
The story of Christian the lion is a good example of this friendship. Australians John Rendall and Anthony Bourke purchased Christian from Harrods Department Store of London, England. In 1969 this popular store used to have its own zoo where the customers could buy any animal.
They took care of Christian for years, until he became so big that the cost of having him in their apartment was too high. For that reason, Christian was reintegrated into the wild. He was sent to Kora National Reserve in Kenya. However, because of the strong relationship that had developed between the lion and his owners, John and Anthony couldn't help travelling to Africa to meet him again. Here comes the most shocking part of the story. After one year living in the wild, Christian recognised them and played with them as if they had never been apart. Nobody could have imagined previously that a lion could develop affection for human beings.
Nowadays, people are not only aware of the special connection that they can create with lions, but they also understand that these animals are an endangered species. That’s why the death of Cecil, a lion that was killed by Walter Palmer, an American dentist who is a fan of hunting animals as sport, got everybody’s attention.
Non-profit organizations such as Black Jaguar-White Tiger have emerged with the mission to “eradicate the idea that a living being can be reduced to a simple object for the purpose of possession. Moreover, (the NGO exists) to raise awareness about how each animal is sentimental, intelligent, and unique.”
This initiative came to be when the founder, a Mexican with a good heart, decided to help an orphaned black jaguar cub that was in the hands of someone with bad intentions. This person was planning to drug the jaguar cub in order to allow people to take photos next to it and make money.
At that moment, Eduardo knew that he had to continue to help animals that were in danger. Up to now, the organization has rescued more than fifteen felines, including African lions, from the hands of irresponsible and heartless people who just want to take advantage of them and make money.
These inspiring stories of true love, awareness and friendship are just an invitation to reflect about the preservation of life. Plenty of animals are endangered species. Fewer than 20,000 lions survive in the wild. It’s time to start supporting initiatives that promote animal care.