This story is still unfolding .. and there are lots of lessons to learn.
It was amazing to see so many artists inspired by Cecil and sharing their tributes to him online. Most of these showed up on social media. Here is a little Cecil art gallery.. with names the artists below each image...
Cecil color study (above) and sketch (below) by Manuel Carrasco http://www.expeditionart.org/blog/
More about the Africa book:
The Yelp page for the dentist's practice has become a forum for venting all sorts of vitriol. Yelp tried to erase these comments.. but folks kept re-posting. Some of the comments were thoughtful.. but many included profanity and became threatening. Is this appropriate?
The dentist had to go into hiding and his office was closed down. It became a memorial to Cecil .. first with flowers and notes and stuffed animals .. and then with bigger signs with stronger language. The dentist released a letter and statement, but the fall-out continued. Collateral damage included the office staff .. and even the patients...
Social Media posts tied the Cecil situation to other animal rights causes ... or despaired that so much attention was given to one lion when there are so many other wildlife causes .. or even causes far afield.. that go unnoticed.
The guide and associate hired by the dentist for the hunt where brought in for questioning.. and there was even talk that the dentist would be extradited back to Zimbabwe. Suddenly Zimbabwe was world-wide news... but this bring up other questions...
The compelling emotional reaction to this story comes from many people, myself included, who have never had the privilege of seeing wild lions in Africa. We love lions.. but are we also mindful that we are coming at this story from our perspective of middle-American experiences and values. Many voices from the mild to the extreme have spoken up, feeling entitled to have a say in this story. The internet gives us all an outlet to express our ideas... but do we also find time to listen and learn....
Here is info on the Hwange Lion Project from the SATIBTrust website:
SCOPEThe study and conservation of wildlife is a vital cause ... but it costs money. Where does that funding come from??? Often it is connected to universities.. but also tourism and economic forces. Would you believe, even insurance brokers???
From the "about us" page of the SATIBTrust website....
In 2013, SATIB Insurance Brokers (SIB) founded SATIB Conservation Trust. For over 25 years, SIB has supported wildlife conservation through the provision of services to the safari, tourism and wildlife conservation industries in Africa and forged relationships with many people working in conservation. In order to formalise their conservation efforts, the Board of Directors of SIB established SATIB Conservation Trust as an independent, non-profit public benefit association – a charity, under the stewardship of newly retired SIB founder Brian Courtenay.
UK news has reported over 230,000 British pounds in donations to researchers .. story included link to this speed painting RIP tribute by artist Jasmine Susak.. http://article.wn.com/view/2015/07/31/Cecil_the_lion_230000_donated_to_Oxford_researchers/
Brent Stapelkamp, another source associated directly with Cecil and the Hwange Lion Research Project, is quoted in these stories..
man who studied lion talks impact.. and includes some background on Cecil and Jericho...
"Cecil had an intriguing story, making him a celebrity in Hwange. He arrived as a kind of lion refugee, alone and wandering after being displaced from another territory. Cecil befriended another male lion, Jericho, and together they grew and watched over two prides, one with three lionesses and seven cubs and another with three lionesses."
Huffington Post story on lion Jericho alive
The reports of Jericho's death were quickly discredited .. and were another reminder of how quickly news can spread on trending topics.. even when the facts are wrong.
For an interesting perspective... see this blog post by science writer David Shiffman ..
"110 Thoughts about Cecil the Lion" post on his blog "Southern Fried Science"
Shiffman is a writer for Scientic American.http://www.scientificamerican.com/author/david-shiffman/
Cecil's story is still being told. Before we raise our voices about the next chapter ... let's try to listen to the lessons here. Let me stress that I don't approve of trophy hunting. However, I learned through decades of working with pet rescue that opposing view points yelling at each other wastes precious resources. We can agree to disagree.. and still work on making things better. Things do change.. but it takes time and patience. Complicated issues don't get resolved with absolutes and easy fixes. The loss of Cecil has wounded hearts. Can we grow from here to a meeting of minds?
What if the momentum of this event helps impassioned points of view find more common ground? Can we at least agree there are complex issues and connections involved with the study and preservation of wildlife? Can we listen.. be respectful of the cultures of other countries... and be examples of the honest, transparent business practices we expect. How can we work together to find the resources needed to fund these programs... raise awareness... make real progress.
WILL BE UPDATING THIS POST HERE WITH LINKS TO RECENT NEWS AND RELATED ARTICLES (Most recent are at the top of this list):
UPDATE Aug 30
Sunday Aug 30th "Travel" section of Los Angeles Times had big feature on animals and Africa with several articles by Amanda Jones and others. Lots of photos and resources in this links ... places to help animals.. updates on endangered species etc.
"Is this Cecil's Legacy..." by Amanda Jones http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-d-africa-animals-main-20150830-story.html
"How you can help rescue wolves and other wildlife" by April Orcutt http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-d-save-the-animals-20150830-story.html
"Rain Forest School" by Arnie Cooper http://www.latimes.com/travel/asia/la-tr-d-indonesia-orangutan-20150830-story.html
"Monkeys readied for a return.." by Arnie Cooper http://www.latimes.com/travel/asia/la-tr-d-indonesia-animals-main-20150830-story.html
"Lions roars being silenced in Africa" by Amanda Jones http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-d-0830-africa-animals-lion-20150830-story.html
"Rhinos Face Extinction" by Amanda Jones http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-d-0830-africa-animals-rhino-20150830-story.html
UPDATE Aug 22
"Pride and Shame of Africa" article on trophy hunting toll on lion populations by Robyn Dixon from 8/22/15 LA Times http://www.latimes.com/world/africa/la-fg-south-africa-lions-20150822-story.html
UPDATE Aug 12
Expedition Art Blog Post .. more about lions, art and Aaron Blaise
Six National Geographic Photographers and the Lions they've seen. Stunning art reference shots, plus behind the scenes of the images from the photographers themselves...http://proof.nationalgeographic.com/2015/08/04/lions/
Op Ed piece in NY Times gives us a chance to listen to a resonant, resident voice..
"In Zimbabwe, We Don't Cry For Lions" by Goodwel Nzou http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/05/opinion/in-zimbabwe-we-dont-cry-for-lions.html?_r=0