Lions and Burgers and Pesticides, Oh My! How America is Contributing to Lion ExtinctionPublished June 30, 2010
Maybe you saw the story about lion burgers being served up in an Arizona bistro: both shocking and highly disturbing. The item concerned a restaurant in Mesa, IL Vinaio. For a mere $21, one could whet their appetite with the "exotic" offering, which includes roasted corn on the cob and chips.
According to Yahoo! News, the restaurant, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Cameron Selogie, is billed as "An American Wine Bistro with Mediterranean influences."
Selogie contends the lion meat served at his restaurant is regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and comes from an Illinois "free-range" farm. He rationalizes the addition of lion burgers to his restaurant's repertoire claiming that since lion meat is eaten in Africa, there should be nothing wrong with folks consuming lion meat here in the United States.
But animal rights organizations have a different take.
Selogie said, "The phone has been ringing off the hook. We've had over 300 emails. We've had bomb threats. The police have added us to the FBI terror watch list. And there will be a number of protesters outside the restaurant tonight."
And if serving up lion meat is not distressing enough for those of us whose hearts have been captured by the big cats, the other day a bone-chilling petition sponsored by the Defenders of Wildlife made me wonder how we, the supposed "keepers" of all animals, pave the way for what may lead to the extinction of such an important species.
According to the petition, Carbofuran, a chemical used in the pesticide Furadan, deemed far too toxic for use in the United States by the Environmental Protections Agency, is being manufactured by an American company. Used in Africa, "it is helping to drive the last wild African lions to extinction".
Exposure to just a small amount of Carbofuran, a deadly neurotoxin, is sufficient to wipe out a lion pride. Only a half a century ago nearly 500 thousand lions lived in Africa. Today, lion experts estimate a staggering decline of more than 95% of the African lion population with approximately only 16,000 of these magnificent cats remaining on the continent.
But the use of Carbofuran is not only putting lions at risk. Hyenas, vultures and other essential scavengers are now in harm's way.
Isn't it time that we really start to act responsibly to ensure the preservation of all wild-life? Even though the frightening state of our economy is taking a front row seat, we must never take the delicate balance of nature for granted.
Watch the video uploaded to YouTube by wildlifedirect. It is a compelling slide show produced by Paula Kahumbu, WildlifeDirect. Instructions on how to get involved are included.
What can we do to preserve endangered species? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.