Petitioning UN Secretary-General António Guterres (New York) and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova (Paris)

Join Cecil the Lion in his call to UN/UNESCO to establish "World Heritage Species" Program

Join the petition that calls on the United Nations to establish a World Heritage Species PROGRAM.  In the name of Cecil but for all our wildlife heritage. #OurHeritageToProtect

Imagine the world with no more lions – a world where they are just a memory.  It is hard to imagine, but this is the direction we are heading.  The number of lions in the world has declined so dramatically that they are at a critical point of survival.  Immediate action is required.  And the involvement of the world’s governing body is now a necessity.

UNESCO is the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization.  UNESCO already designates remarkable places as World Heritage Sites.  These sites are of exceptional importance to the world and deserve special status and protection.   Lions are amongst the most iconic creatures on earth.  They have been a beloved symbol throughout history - a living heritage equally worthy of such protection and ideally suited as the inaugural species of this Program. 

This petition asks UNESCO to expand its mandate of “conservation and protection of world heritage sites” to include “conservation and protection of iconic  species that are part of our biological heritage and keystone of biodiversity” and to establish a “World Heritage Species” PROGRAM  and list the lion as the FIRST title holder under its mandate.

All animals are precious but some are more vulnerable than others. The killing of Cecil the Lion has highlighted the negative consequences of senseless and gratuitous killing of targeted animals.   Pleasure seekers and poachers that hunt and kill have an impact on the entire population.   When our grandparents were children, there were approximately 450,000 lions.  Now there may be less than 20,000 lions, and falling. This astounding 95% decline of the African lion population threatens their viability.  

An additional benefit a UNESCO “administered species protection program” would have on the lions - and all other species under this mandate -  is that it would elevate their status above its present monetary value, which is merely a “kill” exchanged for money.  The program would create the cultural shift needed to look beyond this blood money.  By bestowing the title of “World Heritage Species” upon lions the symbolic and real importance of lions would become a “protective shield” against exploitation.   People who live close to lions and live with them would help to be protectors of something precious and special, proud guardians of world heritage.

 Also with this special status, policies and behaviours will become oriented to protect and cherish these magnificent creatures.  Sale to hunters and poaching will be increasingly curtailed. Politicians and people around the world could share the mission to make the destruction of lions socially unacceptable and legally prohibited.

The “World Heritage Species” title, even as the very first step in this mission, would empower publicity initiatives, renew political will and spur the needed new legal framework

Please join other good people around the world who are starting to make this happen by signing this petition asking the United Nations - in the name of Cecil the Lion  - to establish the World Heritage Species PROGRAM and to place the FIRST  crown of this magnificent global protocol upon the lion, the beloved symbol of pride and dignity throughout history. Let's memorialize and honour Cecil by letting him pave the way for for our precious wildlife. In other words crown the King and then attend to the rest of his Kingdom.

Our lions need us, our elephants need us, our rhinos need us, our cheetahs, our snow leopards, our orangutans - to name just a few.   Unless coordinated, international WILDLIFE SPECIFIC action based on PROTECTION, not TRADE - is taken NOW, there is a real threat that many animals in the wild and in their natural habitats could disappear in a generation or two.

Remember wildlife monetized IS wildlife lost!

Thank YOU for adding your name to this petition.  World Heritage Species is an amazing concept.  Let's formalize it into a global protocol, a stand alone Heritage Program dedicated to our wildlife. 

Let’s not let our precious wildlife slip away and become a memory in our children’s life time.  It is OUR HERITAGE TO PROTECT.

Photo of Cecil the Lion: Amy Engelbrecht

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This petition was inspired by and would not exist had it not been for Mr. Brent Stapelkamp. He was the spark behind its conception. Mr. Stapelkamp himself will be delivering the petition to the UN.

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Please join our growing community on Facebook:  World Heritage Species

 

This petition will be delivered to:
  • UN Secretary-General António Guterres (New York) and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova (Paris)


    Daniela Relja started this petition with a single signature, and now has 19,068 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.