Walking into Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire, I have absolutely no idea what to expect. I’ve been too busy to look it up properly on the Internet and my hands are way too occupied right now to grab a detailed map of the park. So I decide to just wander around and see what we can find.
In the beginning it looks like pretty much any zoo or wildlife place. Until, of course, we stumble upon the lion enclosure. There is a path all around the lions which we follow until we come to a small crowd gathering. Turning to see what has their attention, we see a magnificent white lion feeding from the hands of a visitor. Yes, a white lion.
Everything about it exudes power and beauty. It isn’t any wonder this visitor has paid for this intimate experience and that so many have stopped to watch – this is extraordinary.
Continuing to follow the path around we come to some glass panels and a couple of lionesses move towards us. They embody grace and power all in one. Edging closer to the panel they appear to look at me in the eye. A shiver runs through me. I have no idea why I feel the way I do but boy do I have goosebumps…
Even after we leave this part of the park and traipse over to see the camels, wolves and alligators, the White lions remain on my mind.
One of the saddest things for me was discovering that they’ve been extinct in the wild since 1994. Man have purposely hunted them for too long the only way we can see them now is in a park such as this. Isn’t that a tragedy?
It reminded me of where I was in 1994. Back when I was at primary school and quite the little campaigner. I wrote poems and songs urging people to “save the rainforest” to “save the animals” and I even contacted the charity Greenpeace to ask what I could do to help.
Fast forward into 2015 and I’ve been way too busy of late to give the rainforest a second thought. And the same can be said of so many of us. We become too wrapped up in our safe, western lives that we forget the rainforest is responsible for pretty much everything we take for granted.
The earths oxygen. Rain patterns. Protecting us from the greenhouse effect. Keeping us alive basically.
I may be side tracking a little bit but as we cut down more of the rainforest it’s not only affecting us but it’s also causing more and more species (like lions) to become homeless and worse – extinct.
I won’t lecture you. All I will say is that ive been inspired. And if you’ve been touched in any way then there’s so many things you can do to help the cause.
Visit places like the Paradise Wildlife Park. Support their conservation efforts. Google search charities that focus on things you feel passionate about. Wake up to the contribution you are/not making on Earth.
It’s not just about giving money. But more simply reawakening to what really matters on planet Earth and being conscious of the actions we take to help or hinder it.
The indigenous tribes where the White Lions originate in the Timbavati region of South Africa refer to the lions as Star beings. In actual fact, the word Timbavati translates as ‘the place where the star lions came down.’
This may be fact, it may be folklore but all in all it reminds me of the absolute respect those people have for Earths creatures. Something we would do well to remember too. Perhaps if we did, our rainforest wouldn’t be in the state they are now.
Let’s wake up. Let’s remember.