It’s a day later and I am feeling hopeful.
Yesterday, people around the world came out to march against canned lion hunting.
I admit it, I was a bit worried. I had an irrational fear that when the hour came for people to make good on their virtual commitments, no one would show up.
When I woke up yesterday however, there were photos and videos from Australia and Johannesburg, among other cities, showing widespread support for the cause, and later that morning it would be our turn in New York City to keep up the momentum.
By the end of our event over 200 people made their way to Washington Square park to lend a hand to our efforts.
Two men vacationing from the UK read about the march and took time out from their visit to show their support. Girls who saw the event promoted by Kevin Richardson’s (the “Lion Whisperer”) on his Instagram account, changed their plans to help out. It was great to see strangers unite: everyone was so kind and eager to help.
Passersby were awesome too. They signed the petition we had on hand to pressure the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to declare lions an endangered species so that it would be illegal for hunters to bring their trophies back into the country.
Sarah La Rocca, the woman who, on top of being neck-deep in nursing school classes, was the local organizer. She did a great job and she deserves a big shout out.
She, as well as John Di Leonardo, President, Long Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION) and
Alexandra Panagiotou, University of Amherst & Siyafund, spoke to the crowd about the cause, and a trio of African drummers kept the energy level high throughout the event.
Now that the march is over, I’ve learned a few things:
- So many people deserve a lot of credit for their contributions but they probably won’t get nearly the acclaim they should: There were so many individuals who spent long hours, days, nights, and weekends to get the march up and running, and to coordinate 60 cities around the world. (Geez, it’s hard enough for me to coordinate my friends’ schedules for a dinner party let alone thousands of strangers in different countries.) They all have lives and other responsibilities, but they still took time to motivate me and countless others.
- People will surprise you: When I asked people to spread the word many, even those I hardly know, stepped up to lend their support and share with their followers. I am truly appreciative.
- People will disappoint: On the flip side, some people I know who have a vested interest in wildlife conservation in Africa were silent. Everyone has a right to their own priorities, but I was disappointed nonetheless.
- There will always be someone who says you’re not doing enough, no matter what you do: I was surprised by people who made me feel as if speaking out against canned lion hunting wasn’t worthwhile unless I acknowledged every other animal atrocity in the same breath. Odd that.
- It felt good to do something: I’ve been to Africa four times now. I’ve enjoyed the beautiful landscapes, and been enthralled by its wildlife – especially the lions. I’ve gotten so much over the years from my time on safari and it felt great to do something to show my appreciation.
Thanks to everyone, near and far, that came out to help.