Jane Discusses the Horrors of Trophy Hunting
Today, checking on the situation regarding the Minnesota dentist who killed Cecil the lion, I discovered that a rival male has killed one of Cecil’s cubs who were abandoned by Cecil’s brother, Jericho. Almost certainly the other cubs will be killed as well. This is what lions do when they take over a pride, thus eliminating the genes of their rival. And what of all the genetic disruption of the species’ future? For the hunter will go after the lions with the biggest manes, in their prime – those who carry the genes likely to result in the perpetuation of magnificence. We can never know what role Cecil’s cubs might have played – he was killed and this led to their death.
What makes things worse is 1) the fact that Cecil was illegally lured out of the safety of the protected area where he had established his territory. Palmer insists, rightly or wrongly, that he was not aware of this. And 2) Cecil was not even killed outright by the bow hunter, but spent 40 hours wounded and in pain before he was found and finished off with a bullet.
Palmer’s behavior was despicable on all counts. But the reason that his behavior became the subject of anger and hatred around the world was because Cecil was a known and loved individual. With a radio collar (almost certainly invisible in the beautiful thick mane), part of a scientific study.
And the question we should ask ourselves is this: Just because he was named, and loved and part of a scientific study, does that make him any different, in the world of the lion, than the other lions killed by “sport” hunters? All those splendid individuals whose decapitated heads disfigure the walls of countless wealthy homes?