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The Lion King: the circle of death [exploited to the bone]

Between the release of Disney’s The Lion King 25 years ago until its new photo-realistic computer-animated version of 2019 our planet has lost half of its wild lion population. Half…! If the main reason is habitat loss, it is not the only one why lions are in an alarming state. Other causes are ego for the hunters, greed for the farming, canned lion, and bone trade industries and maybe even worse, a lack of critical sense for some of us often with the best intentions.

A blockbuster about nature is often inspiring, and most take their children to these movies to make them dream. We leave the theatre amazed by the beauty of the wilderness. We want to explore more of it and to enjoy it. In the best cases we realize it is precious and we want it to be preserved for the next generations. However this does not really turn out this way… Remember the excellent Pixar’s Finding Nemo? Did you know that this movie led to the setup of captive breeding programs in Australia to keep up with clown fish demand? Did you know that 90% of clown fish found in aquariums were taken from the wild? Did you know that in South East Asia and more specifically Thailand, Indonesia and The Philippines, clownfish are collected using cyanide poisoning? The already threatened species was propelled to the brink of extinction thanks to a movie which theme was to respect and preserve wildlife…

So what can we expect form the reaction of the public after crying in theatres for little Simba losing his father? Luckily nor the fish tank neither the pet is an option (mind me, lion pets are actually a growing business…)! One can most likely expect the best intentions. For instance how many viewers will do some research and read about the worrying situation of lions after centuries of extensive hunting? How many moved spectators will want to help save lions in Africa looking for volunteering programs? How many of these will be heartbroken hearing the story about how little cubs abandoned by their mothers in the wild were rescued by amazing organizations where they can volunteer to help bottle-feed them (in order to release them in the wild once they are strong and old enough)? And how many will save up to be part of one of these exciting programs? Except this is all BULLSHIT (mind me, big and smelly LIONSHIT)!

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