Today's post is a serious one but very important both to me and Remi. If this is not your cup of tea, please don't simply "unsubscribe" but come back later in the week, there is plenty of Provence to follow...
Ben froze at the sound of the first shot. At the second, he took off at a run. Kipling, our wiry rascal looked up at me with confusion. Amazingly, Ben is still well-trained enough that I was able to get him into a sit just long enough to slip the leash back on him. All around the outskirts of our village, we could hear the loud firecracker pops. Ben's eyes widened until each one resounded as "fear, fear, fear" and he began to tremble. He strained on the leash as we all headed home at a pace just under a run, to safety in their minds, for today is the opening day of hunting season.
In France, the hunting of most species is highly regulated but you wouldn't think so today for it would seem as if everyone wanted to use up all of their allotments at once for the number of gunshots ringing out at the 11am start time. So now, I will have to be more precise with not only the when of our walks but most certainly the where, as a man was killed last year just beyond the village by his colleague who mistook him for a deer.
As I sat down to type, my heart still beating fast with adrenaline, a mad rush of images flurried through my mind while I tried to flip file my sentiments on the act of hunting. A sentence began to form: "In the different traditional societies that I have had the good fortune to cover in our travels..." pause...what was it that they did? No actually, most of them did not rely on hunting to survive, meat is often precious, rare and agrarian gains were key to nourishment. But that too is changing, as modern society infringes on their lands, certainly that is the case with the Maasai. We are pushing them to change. And certainly we are the ones that have convinced ourselves of the need for hunting to be a sport.
As I have mentioned repeatedly recently, Remi, my companion, has been creating a tribute to our incredible wildlife in tribute to the needless slaughter of Cecil the Lion. Now, I should say that from the beginning of Lost in Arles, Remi has not wanted to be a part of this blog directly, so this is of my choosing but I know that quite a few of you have been following along. For those of you that are interested, the end of his six weeks of storytelling has culminated in a fund-raising drive for the Frankfurt Zoological Society, whose efforts have already saved 26 black rhinos in the Ngorongoro Crater (and have set up the security to protect the entire animal population) and are now focusing on the very high risk zones of the Serengeti National Park. Remi is calling out to the 31,000 members of his feed as well as the 2.3 million members of the feed for The Photo Society, which features the works of photographers that have been published in National Geographic.
I am incredibly proud of his work but especially so in that Remi, being Remi, has tried to raise the debate beyond just the horrific example of Cecil the Lion's death. I will leave you with his words:
For those of you on instagram, you can find more information at @remibenali or @thephotosociety
For any of you that are interested in donating directly (thank you!) please go to: www.fzs.org/en/ or if you are in the US you can go directly to: www.us.fzs.or/en/support
Any amount, even a dollar, would be welcome and if you are so inclined and it is tax-deductible.
Please feel free to share this post or Remi's feed on all social media, merci!
There is so much beauty in our world and I am grateful for it.
With my Highest Regards to all of you,
Thank you for being here,