A Conundrum and An Answer

Recently I visited a wildlife park in Oregon. The pictured photograph is of an aging, male African Lion who was a resident of this park. He was a beautiful old man. When I looked into his eyes I thought I saw sadness there and it made me wonder. Is it better to be a prisoner in a cage or live free and probably die at the hand of a poacher?

This is hardly a new question but this fellow got me to pondering it again. This particular park was private and run for profit. Because it was in Oregon, where winters are wet, the whole place was a mud bog and wreaked of urine and feces. I am not in any way suggesting the operators of this facility were remiss in their care. It was just what it was and for me it was awful.

There were two lions in the cage, which was not much larger than a lot of living rooms. The only thing these regal creatures could do was pace their small space. It broke my heart to see. They were alive. People could come and see them. But, at what price to the lions?

This, of course, is the conundrum. Is it better to live in a cage or live free and die?

I am not a fan of cages. For me the answer would be simple. But, in the big picture, the answer is far from that. I believe the first and largest cage that needs dismantling is ignorance and education is the key.

Thankfully, there are organizations like The African Environmental Film Foundation run by my friend and documentary film maker, Simon Trevor. Take a look at the wonderful work this organization is doing. It’s through work like theirs that the wild creatures can simply LIVE FREE!

© Kinsey Barnard

A Conundrum and An Answer

kotybear

Eureka, United States

  • Artist
    Notes

Artist's Description

This piece is taken from my blog Photography, Philosophy & Pearls of Wisdom. It goes with my “Old Man” Photograph.

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