Friday 20th July 2012
We are all well aware about the failure of the Rio conference to make any meaningful difference to the conservation of biodiversity. But here we will discuss another Rio.
Rio Ferdinand is a rather well-known football (soccer) player, a key defender for Manchester United. He is so rather well known that he has more than 3 million followers on Twitter.
Rio is now in South Africa, where Manchester United seems to be playing a few exhibition games as part of their global campaign to gain friends and earn money. Last night, Rio sent a Tweet to say that he had shot a lion and a “wilder beast”, and posed in his ManUnited shirt next to a rather corpulent Zulu.
As you can imagine, there was considerable fallout. Rio now says it was all a joke and he did not shoot any wild beasts. Damage control or truth? LionAid contacted Rio’s agents here in the UK, who said he could not have done what he said as he would not have been covered by any insurance according to spokesman Justin Rigby.
Let’s give Rio the benefit of the doubt – maybe he did not kill a lion or a wilder beast. But Rio must be aware, in fact maybe even proud, of the fact that he has 3 million followers. Many of those will be young people following because Rio is often on TV as a football star. So why did he tweet that he had killed a lion? Even by boasting about that on twitter sends a very bad message. One respondent to us said Rio often wears three lions on his chest (the national emblem) when playing for England, so why should he be killing one?
Rio needs to apologize, and get involved in lion conservation. Perhaps he does not realize how few wild lions are left in the world?
Posted by Pieter Kat at 17:07
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