By Tafline Laylin
A modern-day Egyptian gladiator has reportedly announced plans to fight an African lion. Al-Sayed al-Eassawy claims to have the Ministry of Interior’s blessings to fight the animal in front of the Giza pyramids, all in an exceedingly misguided effort to revive the country’s tourism industry. From Egypt’s Daqahlyia Governorate, the stunt man purchased the 617 pound animal (illegally) for approximately $4,200 and will fight it with a dagger and shield. This madness is supposed to happen on 25 June, 2011.
Caging the Wild
Listed as vulnerable on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) list of endangered species, lion populations have dropped by approximately 42% in the last couple of decades as a result of human encroachment.
Egypt is renowned for its participation in the illegal wildlife trafficking trade. We recently reported how local Egyptian authorities pumped a lion cub discovered in a criminal’s home with 200 bullets.
The country is also infamous for its general cruelty to animals. One American teacher describes the baboons living at the Giza zoo as “depressed… in some cases they are downright catatonic,” she said. Not only are their cages are too small, but workers often accept bribes to allow visitors to touch the wild animals.
Dogs are Haram, Cats were Sacred
Street animals are also treated poorly. Considered Haram, stray dogs are often poisoned with strychnine in order to cull their proliferation. So are stray cats, which used to be considered sacred. Animals that consume this poisonous pesticide experience seizures, a “sawhorse” stance, and rigid extension of their limbs. They usually only die after suffering from respiratory paralysis.
In the aftermath of the revolution in January, Egypt has an enormous opportunity to spearhead environmental, political and social reform, but economics has proved to be an imposing challenge.
How to Alienate Foreign Tourists
According to some analysts, at least $1 billion in revenue has already been lost as a result of reduced tourism traffic. More....