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By Kelly Calagna, Managing Editor

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Today, August 10th is Internationally recognized as World Lion Day—a global campaign created to spread awareness and appreciation for the great beast whose history has intertwined with that of mankind for thousands of years.

Last year I spent this day in Zimbabwe, volunteering at a charity volleyball game to raise money for the conservation efforts which had drawn me across the planet. I was interning with ALERT (the African Lion Environmental Research Trust), doing behavioral research on a lion pride for the greater purpose of replenishing Africa’s wild lion population—which has dropped from 200,000 to an estimated low of 32,000 over the last 40 years.

For many World Lion Day has come and passed without knowledge or recognition, but I have hope that this year will be different. With the recent media frenzy over the killing of Cecil the lion, the species’ plight is finally in the public spotlight. While what happened to Cecil is undeniably tragic, it is not an isolated incident, nor is it a situation reserved for the African lion. Cecil’s fate is one shared by many other beasts, and even our fellow man. While the world mourns the loss of this august creature, I hope his death can be recognized as a metaphor, not just for the state of his species, but for the troubled state of his African homeland. 10641169_10202062737844696_1991089269421320857_nFrom the sands of the Colosseum, to the receiving end of a bullet, lions and humans continue to share their fates—a tradition of bloodshed that can not be sustained. If we do not act now, the lion may very well be yet another creature left to the imaginations of our future generations.

So don’t let this World Lion Day pass without notice. Spread, share, tweet, and post—let the internet roar with awareness.

Learn more about what you can do to help the lion at worldlionday.com. For more information on the restorative efforts of ALERT, go to lionalert.org.

Photos By: Kelly Calagna