It's the thirteenth year into the Millennium and despite advances in technology, ease of travel and the emergence of more hobbies and fitness classes than ever, we still, it seems, take pleasure in destruction.
The global movement website, Avaaz.org has yet another plea for help on behalf of the Maasai in Tanzania. The tribal community of the Ngorongoro District are facing eviction from their homes so that the Tanzanian government can use the land to develop tourism; mainly to provide wealthy visitors with the sport of shooting lions and leopards. The website provides opportunity to sign a petition against this, raising global awareness and an international voice against such governmental action. Yet, surely another major issue is being overlooked here, alongside the threat to humanity.
Why on earth is the hunting of lions and leopards for sport still being encouraged? When poaching is still a problem in the continent of Africa, with figures of rhino poaching increasing each year from 2008 to 2012 (Unite Against Poaching), why would governments risk worsening the problem by offering tourists the chance to take part in a similar sport. Although tourists will pay financially for this opportunity, rather than shooting to earn money, the end result is still the same. A wild animal dies. Not just any animal either; a member of the Big 5 and in itself a main tourist attraction. People happily spend money to see these animals roaming free in the wild. Why should other places offer the chance to kill them instead?
Something here still seems rather backwards to me. We admittedly live in an age of fierce debate about killing animals for sport (think of the furore about fox-hunting that occurred in England not many years ago). But when numbers of big cats are plummeting around the world it seems clear to me that we should be trying to protect our wildlife rather than destroying it further. According to National Geographic , only 32,000 lions remain out of the hundreds of thousands roaming Africa just 50 years ago.
We share this planet. We don't own it. It's about time we were reminded of that.