This is such a tragedy. Last week, a beloved African lion by the name of Cecil in Zimbabwe was brutally beheaded and skinned by “sport hunter” Walter Palmer from Minnesota. The 13 year old black mane lion was very well-known in the area as he had been tracked by researchers over a decade ago to study and help the already fledgling numbers of African lions in the wild. The sad part is Palmer shot the lion with a bow and arrow, and Cecil lived for another FORTY hours before being stalked and then shot with a gun by Palmer. He suffered a horrible death. Then his body was discarded by the outskirts of the National Park and the hunters tried to destroy his tracking collar provided by Oxford University.
It is estimated that Palmer paid upwards of $50,000 for this trophy kill. But sadly, the locals will only see a small amount of that money, according to Jeff Flocken, the North American regional director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare. ”Studies have shown that with these big, lavish hunts, only 3% to 5% of the income from that hunt actually ends up for local people on the ground where the hunt happens. There are much better ways to earn this kind of money — revenue from nature tourism, where the animal’s not killed, brings in three to 15 times what’s brought in from these trophy hunts in Africa,” he told CNN. And Oxford University stated that trophy hunting has “an alarming impact on lion numbers and population structure within the park. Each removal of a male lion by hunters on the borders of the park created a ‘territorial vacuum’ which drew males from further inside the protected area into boundary areas, where they too became vulnerable to hunters.”
And Palmer has been in trouble for alleged illegal hunting activities before. The NY Times reports that he served a year probation over false statements in regards to his hunting methods.
And people are outraged over this senseless killing. Sharon Osbourne tweeted, “I hope that #WalterPalmer loses his home, his practice & his money. He has already lost his soul…” And Ricky Gervais uploaded a photo of the lion to his Facebook page with the caption, “RIP #CecilTheLion I am struggling to imagine anything more beautiful than this.” Angry
There is also an online petition going around to demand justice for Cecil the lion by asking the President of Zimbabwe to stop issuing hunting permits for endangered species. You can sign it here. And another petition is calling for the extradition of Palmer to Zimbabwe for illegally killing Cecil. You can sign that one here. RIP, Cecil.