‘ Duma’ - African Lion
Coloured charcoal engraving, and drawing on board 120 X 90cm
I met Duma, whose Zulu name means thunder, at a private conservation park in South Africa. He is 4 years old and a male who is growing to become a magnificent individual. Although on the other side of a wire fence, Duma was intensely curious and interactive when I sat on the ground, against the wire, getting a good close look at him. Not certain how he would react I was none the less surprised when he came right up to me and rubbed his face along the wire mesh next to my face. Plainly friendly, he again took me totally by surprise when he gently pressed one huge front paw against the wire right alongside my cheek in what was clearly a gesture of friendship and intimacy. I could hardly refuse his invitation to know him and placed my hand gently against his dinner plate paw in ‘high five’ gesture of sharing. After a few seconds he mumbled some gentle little contact moans and slowly walked off.... I felt I had been blessed.
The sad part of Duma’s story is that he was rescued as a tiny cub (along with his 5 siblings) from a lion breeding farm and was destined to be shot in staged ‘canned hunting’ once he reached adulthood. Having been raised and fed by humans all of his life he would have had no defence against the ‘hunter’ who would to Duma’s mind be simply another friendly human.
Duma will now live out his life in peace and happiness but there are many more like him who will not unless South Africa changes its stance on the legality of canned hunting.