Animals / Nature / Photography

The Lion, the Dog, and Endangered Species

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When I was a kid, my mother would occasionally spot a lost dog as we were driving. We’d stop and try to catch the pup, then call either the owner (if the dog had tags) or a neighbor with contacts at local animal shelters.

Some animals may be lost permanently if the world doesn’t take action.

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This past weekend, images of 160 endangered species were projected onto the Empire State Building. (I wasn’t there to see it, but the pictures I found online make the show look spectacular). Digital specialist Travis Threlkel stacked 40 projectors on a rooftop two blocks away to shine animal images onto the New York City landmark. Louie Psihoyos created the event to draw attention to the vanishing creatures on our planet.

The show’s goal was to promote Racing Extinction, a documentary from the Oceanic Preservation Society which will be released this fall. Cecil the Lion was a late addition to the three-hour lights show, which was called Projecting Change.

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In case you haven’t heard, last week an American dentist/trophy hunter killed Cecil the Lion, a safari favorite in Zimbabwe. The dentist has killed 43 big game animals, including black bears, lions, rhinos, elk, moose, buffalo, polar bears, cheetahs.

I’ve learned the CEO of Jimmy John’s, former CEO of GoDaddy, and adult sons of Donald Trump are also big game hunters. I won’t be eating at Jimmy John’s any more. Or supporting any companies that knowingly employ these cruel killers.

I’m glad Delta, United and American Airlines announced on Monday they’ll no longer ship exotic animal trophies. Lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceroses and water buffalos killed for sport are now banned from their cargo. Several international airlines announced a similar ban last week.

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Other changes are afoot too. U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., proposed the CECIL Act in Washington, D.C. The act would expand import bans beyond endangered species, to include species that are merely proposed for listing as threatened or endangered.

Let’s keep working to protect threatened species. Let’s end senseless big game hunting too.

It’s the least we can do to honor Cecil the Lion.

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