Every year the I pay homage to my favourite animal, the African Lion. A few years ago I had the distinct honour of working/volunteering with the Dambwa Pride, a young pride of lions protected by the African Lion Environmental Research Trust (A.L.E.R.T). It was a truly surreal experience. As you can imagine, working with lions, the day-to-day goings on were anything but usual. Tracking dwindling Wild Dog populations, learning about the migratory patterns of the local elephant herds , and frolicking on the savannah with playful cubs in the hot afternoon sun were all in a day’s work. This year’s day of commemoration is shrouded in sadness as the world mourns the loss of one of Africa’s most beloved lions, Cecil the Lion. Cecil was cruelly lured out of a protected conservation area, shot with an arrow belonging to American big game recreational hunter Walter Palmer. Hwange National Park’s most famous lion succumbed to his injuries some 40 hours later.