Cecil The Lion & Wildlife Killing

“It is no accident that one of the two men who accompanied the dentist on the safari, and who have now been arrested, was a farmer (the other was a professional hunter hired by Palmer as a guide). State wildlife officials claim that Honest Trymore Ndlovu helped lured the lion off the wildlife reserve and onto his property, Antoinette Farm, where the beast was killed.

Why would he do such a thing?” asks Time.

Jeoff Flocken asks the same question in National Geographic:

“Why on Earth are we still allowing this animal to be killed for “fun” when it’s in danger of disappearing from the wild in our lifetimes?”  He says, “The most recent study, led by a scientist from Duke University, shows that as few as 32,000 lions are left in the wild. Many experts say there could be far fewer. (See an interactive experience on the Serengeti lion.)”

“Approximately 600 lions are killed every year on trophy hunts, including lions in populations that are already declining from other threats. These hunts are unsustainable and put more pressure on the species.”

“The adult male lion is the most sought-after trophy by wealthy foreign hunters. And when an adult male lion is killed, the destabilization of that lion’s pride can lead to more lion deaths as outside males compete to take over the pride.”

For the protesting trophy hunters who say their big money contributes to the protection of the species Flocken says,

“The money that does come into Africa from hunting pales in comparison to the billions and billions generated from tourists who come just to watch wildlife. If lions and other animals continue to disappear from Africa, this vital source of income—non-consumptive tourism—will end, adversely impacting people all over Africa.”

There can be no excuse for the wanton recreational killing of treasured wildlife. We would like to think that kind of behaviour belongs to the past, and deserves the same kind of condemnation accorded to poachers who continue to decimate the world’s wild-life population for monetary gain. What excuse can there be in finding delight in killing these animals? It isn’t a culling exercise, or hunting down an animal that is a threat to a local community.

What a contrast in values, attitudes and behaviour from those who seek to preserve and treasure the wild life still remaining on our planet? Those of us who aren’t privileged enough to see the wonder of wild-life in person delight to watch the wonders of wild-life brought via TV or film to us by those who carry not guns for destruction but the camera that records the treasure and delight of nature.

I remember getting up in the middle of the night years ago when the children were small. There was a ruckus in the back of the house. Getting dressed quickly there was that rush of adrenaline as I anticipated facing unwelcome burglars. Opening the door into the garden I grabbed a long-handled brush ready to face off intruders. But the intruders were animals. Badgers! Three of them!

They had turned over the waste bin and were now foraging on the lawn. I was still in anger mode and began shooing them back towards the broken fence panel where they had come from the woods we backed onto. But they didn’t move, they just stopped and stared at me seemingly daring me to remove them. Then I stopped and stared too, and realised what the situation was. They were not intruders, they were badgers! Our two children were young and we had not come across badgers before.

I went back in, locked up, left the outside light on, went upstairs and into the girl’s bedroom. I woke them up as gently as I could, and we, the girls and mum and myself, watched out the bedroom window for some while, enjoying seeing the creatures enjoying whatever they were foraging for in the garden. It happened several nights following, until I had to replace the fence panel. But our two ‘young ladies’ began to lose the excitement of being woken up in the middle of the night anyway.

But we didn’t want to harm those creatures, we just felt privileged they had paid us a visit; it was a story we could share with friends and neighbours. When animals have to be culled, as guardians of nature it should hurt us to have to do it. But to go and kill animals, for selfish gain or just for the sheer delight of it, does that not that says something about us as human beings? 

I haven’t read all the opprobrium dished out to the offender through social media, I wouldn’t want to be part of that. That can be equally offensive behaviour. I know rational appeal to rogue poachers is not likely to be effective but I would like to think the indignation that has been rightly expressed will suggest to the offender in this case, and other such offenders, that intelligent people no longer see the animal kingdom being there to be exploited, but to be valued and cared for.

The story has spread across the world’s media, but it is worth reading the article in Time. It is not just a sad story of Cecil the lion, or the sad outlook of a game hunter on wildlife; there is also the fuller story of the sad situation in Zimbabwe, where human survival out-weighs animal survival, and the world has had to sit back and watch human poverty, suffering and abuse while their political leaders enjoy the opulent life.

Other Sources of the Story

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3179280/Agonising-hours-lion-king-Cecil-one-man-s-deadly-vanity.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3178821/Pictured-court-face-charges-poaching-Two-accomplices-accused-helping-dentist-kill-Cecil-lion-appear-magistrates-Zimbabwe.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/zimbabwe/11770050/The-real-scandal-of-killing-Cecil-the-lion-the-price.html

http://www.ctvnews.ca/world/man-accused-of-killing-cecil-the-lion-claims-he-thought-hunt-was-legal-1.2492479

 

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