Are Humans Like the Hyenas in The Lion King?

If you’ve watched the majestic film remake of The Lion King on the big screen recently,  you’d probably recall this scene where Mufasa tells Simba: “Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.

Image: Disney

We also guess that you’ve seen the menacing hyenas that lurked in the dark and barren wastelands. Under the deception of Scar, the hyenas acted upon their greed for power (and resources), and turned once-fertile land into grounds where little lifeforms survived.

Even though hyenas are scavengers (and the human species is not), this subplot serves as a metaphor for the Circle of Life that is often unscrupulously disrupted by mankind. Did we say that yes, we think the hyenas look ugly, but looks aside, we hope that they too will continue to thrive and not be led down the path of extinction like many a species have gone. Just like how human diversity found in man’s intricate DNA is needed to keep our species away from extinction, the intricate web of life in its ecosystems constantly shift as they adjust accordingly in a dance to find new states of balance when disruption occurs.

The history of the natural world has seen major extinctions. Perhaps the most famous was the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago that was brought about by asteroid impact, volcanic eruptions and climate change.  The ebbs and flows of life as we know are now threatened in a massive way by the acts of man. Extinction rates have increased to more than 10 times the norm. Examples of the adverse impacts of man’s activities abound. A study carried out in 2018 by several scientists under the auspices of the United Nations concluded that there is a more than 95% probability that the rise in greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming over the past 50 years is due to that produced by man’s activities – nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide and methane are released and trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere by:

  • Burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas
  • Deforestation (cutting down forests to clear land for other uses)
  • Increase in livestock farming – when cows and sheep digest their food and fart, they release a lot of methane

Some of the animal species that are currently facing the threat of extinction include the following (https://www.earthday.org/2019/02/07/how-climate-change-is-threatening-our-species/):

  • Bumblebees
  • Whales
  • Asian elephants
  • Giraffes
  • Sharks
  • Great apes of Southeast Asia

It is estimated that approximately 50% of the world’s animal species could go extinct by 2100 due to the effects of climate change – this is such a sad prospect isn’t it?

If we deem ourselves to rightfully walk (and rule over) the Earth akin to the lions in the African savannahs in The Lion King, due to the fact that we are indomitably the most intelligent species here, then shouldn’t we ought to heed Mufasa’s wisdom (albeit fictional character he is) and learn to respect all creatures, in this Circle of Life that we belong?


Reprovisions aims to help spread awareness across Singapore’s heartlands of the compelling need to respect the natural world and to do what we can, by starting from where we are, in whatever way that makes sense for each of us – an example could be to reduce single-use plastic bags by bringing our own containers to buy food items in bulk (loose form), as most plastic waste ultimately ends up in landfills or are burnt and leach toxic chemicals into the food chains.

Find out more from our website (click here), and Instagram/Facebook accounts @reprovisions. 

Categories: Blog

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