(LIONS/WILDLIFE) Last week, an article about a big game huntress, Melissa Bachman, sparked international outrage. Bachman is a TV presenter who prides herself on killing wildlife. Fortunately when her cruelty was exposed to a mass audience, a campaign immediately began to get Bachman’s show off the air.
Although Bachman received extreme backlash for her thoughtless actions from many, others have come to her defense.
Olivia Nalos Opre, a former Nebraska beauty queen, and Mindy Arthurs, a mother-of-two, are both passionate about killing lions, bears, rhinos, and other endangered wildlife.
“I enjoy the challenge. I enjoy knowing the prize I’m going after is out there and the excitement that goes along with pursuing it…You feel so much respect when you walk up on an animal you have taken,” Arthurs told the Daily Mail.
These photos and statements are alarming and dangerous as many species are rapidly becoming endangered and extinct.
In June, Western black rhinos were declared extinct in great part due to illegal poaching, while Northern white rhinos are on the brink of extinction. The Javan tiger is extinct due to hunting and loss of forest habitat. These are all species we’re solely responsible for terminating.
But there is another species whose numbers are now rapidly declining: the iconic African lion.
According to a study at Duke University,[quote]“About 75 percent of Africa’s savannahs and more than two-thirds of the lion population once estimated to live there have disappeared in the last 50 years.”[/quote]
“The word savannah conjures up visions of vast open plains teeming with wildlife. But the reality is that massive land-use change and deforestation, driven by rapid human population growth, has fragmented or degraded much of the original savannah. Only 25 percent remains of an ecosystem that once was a third larger than the continental United States,” Stuart Pimm, a Professor of Conservation Ecology at Duke University, adds.
Not surprisingly, the lion also seems to be a favorite wall trophy for those like Bachman and Opre.
GoPro has shot a beautiful, eye-opening short film that explores the dynamic relationship between humans and wild animals, specifically lions.
Kevin Richardson, a South African animal behaviorist, is seen interacting with two female lions whose lives he saved when they were just cubs. And now Richardson is striving to repeat his feat and save them again with the help of the short film and its goal to create awareness.
“As a whole lions are not doing well, they’ve decreased, declined to miserable numbers,” Richardson says. Richardson is fighting to save and restore their habitat, which are the only means to keep the African wildlife in existence.
The video concludes with a poignant statement: “Imagine Africa without lions.” Can you?
— Sonia Horon, exclusive to Global Animal