Born into captivity, Orion the African Lion spent the first few years of his life in a squalid Mexican zoo. His surroundings, concrete. His chances in life, bleak.
His future pride was even less fortunate. Gigi, Xinna, and Malka would eventually be rescued or confiscated from private owners, but not before some were declawed or detoothed.
The sad truth is that more large cats are privately owned in America than wild in the world. Most exist in tragic, unbefitting conditions. Obviously unsafe, some try drastic measures to control the potentially ferocious animals. Many will never be saved.
Around the world, even living in the“wild” has become increasingly more dangerous for apex predators. In 2015, many Americans became aware of the predicament lions, tigers, and bears face when Cecil, a Southwest African lion, was killed and beheaded by a Minnesotan dentist; that happened just outside the Zimbabwe National Park, in a supposed safe place.
This is when Altrumedia a member of the Advice Media family and their parent company, Page 1 Solutions, got involved. As the former marketing company for the formerly mentioned dentist, our company came into the crosshairs of an angry Internet. A wrong was done and people wanted justice.
To counter the misplaced hate, illustrate our gut reaction and empathy to the loss, quickly and clearly communicate our respect for life, and to take responsibility as global citizens, we reached out to a local charity: The Wild Animal Sanctuary. We asked to sponsor one of their rescued lions, which is how we met Orion.
Beginning in 1980, The Wild Animal Sanctuary began rescuing large carnivores by providing them with massive, serengeti-like fields to call their own. With over 450 predators, the sanctuary is now the largest of its kind, with an expansive 720 acres of rehabilitation and relaxation in Eastern Colorado.
It was this sanctuary that took in the abused king of the jungle and three lionesses. It was their doctors, nurses, handlers, feeders, grounds keepers, and volunteers — who began to avenge the injustice these creatures faced and to craft a new pride on the American plains.
Fittingly, America’s amber waves of grain once gave protection to the largest felines in history, the prehistoric Panthera atrox, the American lion. That was many moons ago but as the sun rises tomorrow it is Orion that will stand atop a hill of brown United States’ clay and roar deep into the wind. The new great American lion.