Andrew Bone speaks out about the death of Cecil the lion
Bone was one of the many who was devastated to learn of the illegal hunt that led to the death of Cecil, a 13-year-old black mane lion living in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.
Bone is a native of Zimbabwe who was introduced to Africa’s animals while fighting in the Rhodesian War and working as a guide for visitors to the Zambezi Valley. His study and photography of the wildlife he encountered during these times led to him becoming an outspoken advocate for African wildlife conservation.
Authorities claim Cecil was lured outside of the park and shot with an arrow, but was finished off with a gun. The lion was found beheaded and skinned. Cecil was part of an Oxford University research project and wore a GPS collar.
In light of the tragedy, Bone shared the following message with Park West Gallery:
For a number of years now conservationists and I have been alarmed at the downward spiraling numbers of wild lions. The number of wild lions has crashed from an estimated 450,000 a few decades ago to around 20,000 today. The death of one pride male can result in the death of upwards of 26 members of his pride through the scatterings of pride members and infanticide by new males (it will almost certainly occur with Cecil’s pride). In a tragic error of killing the wrong lion, the hunter has inadvertently finally turned the world focus on the problem.
I simply know the lions, have studied them and marveled at their beauty and power. At any Park West exhibition you will always see a number of lion pieces, and the reason for this is that every lion is different, and like humans, each has a different character. Unlike humans, they do not kill for sport.
I have now, following a request to a fellow Zimbabwean, received recent photographs of Cecil and I have begun work on a painting depicting the lion with his pride.
Bone’s passion for conservation inspired him to establish the Forever Wildlife Foundation, where 100 percent of the funds go to wildlife conservation. For instance, he has worked to collar wild dogs in Africa, or deals with Problem Animal Control (PAC).
“I see the art two-fold: One is a vehicle to achieve my aims in conservation, and that is wonderfully done through Park West Gallery,” he says. “The other is sitting behind the easel and the passion comes out in trying to be absolutely true to wildlife.”
Collectors can learn more about Bone’s life as a conservationist and his artwork in his upcoming memoir, “Brushstrokes of Africa,” published in conjunction with Park West Gallery.