Target: Artist Mark Balma
Goal: Thank Mark Balma for his work to commemorate Cecil the Lion and his contributions to protecting wildlife.
Last year, Dr. Walter Palmer shot and killed Cecil the Lion while on a hunting trip in Zimbabwe. This immediately angered the animal conservation community and alerted people to the barbaric nature of such hunting trips. Cecil had long been the face of lion conservation efforts and his death was shocking, sudden and needless.
Minnesota artist Mark Balma was a protester outside of Dr. Palmer’s office after Cecil’s death and felt inspired to protect wildlife. He has created a beautiful painting of Cecil the Lion that he plans to sell and donate the proceeds to animal conservation efforts. He has reportedly turned down offers of $100,000 in the hopes that his work can bring in more money to contribute to the cause. Balma is hoping that some good can come out of this wrongful killing of Cecil and to broaden awareness of trophy hunting.
Fewer than 20,000 African lions exist in the wild, and only recently were named endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These lions deserve to be protected to the fullest extent of U.S. law and Balma’s work supports awareness across the country. Please thank Balma for his sincerity and commitment to animal conservation.
Dear Mr. Balma,
The work you have created in the name of animal conservation is stunning. Not only have you commemorated Cecil the Lion’s life through a beautiful piece of artwork, but your contributions to animal conservation are important and deserve recognition.
The international animal conservation community was outraged at the news of Cecil’s death. As tragic as it was, you have managed to shine a light on his life in the hopes that lions live on without the threat of trophy hunting. You have made a positive change through your art, plus financial contributions and commitment to raising awareness for not only Cecil the Lion, but other animals who need protection.
The state of the African lion is in a precarious position, and they were only recently labeled “endangered” by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These animals are the victims of shrinking habitats, retaliatory killings, starvation due to lack of prey and in the case of Cecil the Lion, trophy hunting.
While your piece cannot entirely eradicate each individual problem lions face, your work can make Americans aware of the harm done each year. We must all do our part to protect the remaining 20,000 lions who live in the wild. Thank you for dedicating your art to the animal conservation cause.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: William Warby