I have held my tongue for a few days because I wanted to be far more educated in this matter than I was previously. I don’t feel any more educated but I didn’t want to come across as a lot of people in Walter Palmers Yelp page! This discussion has been in my home for a few weeks now and it is something I want to talk about.
Cecil was a lion that lived in Hwange National Park, in Zimbabwe. The park is the biggest game reserve in Zimbabwe, it’s about half the size of Belgium. He was 13 years old and was a national treasure. He had been collard and tracked by Oxford University since 1999. I recommend you read this, to know more. He had distinctive black fur in his mane, people would travel to try and spot the famous Cecil. It was also noted that he had a very good temperament.
EDIT: Also just to note that Oxford says Cecil’s brother, Jericho is alive. Just incase you were wondering.
So what happened?
A dentist from the US, Walter Palmer, decided to use Theo Bronkhorst, who owns a hunting company in Zimbabwe, to shoot a lion with a bow and arrow. Palmer paid $50,000 dollars to do so. Palmer and Bronkhorst track Cecil and by using bait, they drew out Cecil onto land outside Hwange National Park.
So Palmer shoots Cecil with an arrow. Cecil runs off and Palmer, Bronkhorst and their team track the wounded animal for 40 hours and then shoot him. Except all of this was illegal. Neither Bronkhorst nor Palmer had authorisation for this kill. The park didn’t have an animal to kill at that time. Palmer said that he didn’t know that it was illegal or that Cecil was famous and loved. To me, luring a collard animal out of the park and killing on a different persons land is highly suspicious. Currently Bronkhorst and the land owner have been up in court but are now out on bail.
Trophy hunting is good for conservation.
Now this I have had trouble finding extensive information on. I know that parks need to cull animals because there isn’t enough space. Humans have done this, we have controlled the wild animals of the world and we need them to stay controlled in their area, I get it. Keeping the population strong by human intervention has never been something I really condone but I understand. For instance I know that Co. Wicklow is overrun with deer and there are legal hunting periods to control the population. I understand it but I would never participate, I love those deer.
I have heard that the meet goes back to the community but I don’t know if that is true. This is probably false, it’s probably left for scavengers. It is said that because of trophy hunters, a number of privately owned parks, that breed animals for hunting, started so that wild animals could survive. I have been on some hunting websites but I haven’t seen any information on how it benefits society.
Africa is a complicated continent, there is a whole load of history that we don’t remember in these situations. It is not an easy thing at all. Any information for or against I am interested in so link it below!
My thoughts on trophy hunting.
I have to note that I find trophy hunters really horrible humans. I don’t understand it and I probably will never understand why they do it but I do not support it in any kind of fashion. I do understand hunting to eat and to feed a family but I don’t understand why you feel the need to pose with it and hang it on your wall. I find it grotesque. I find craving to kill a living thing with a bow or a gun for a prize or gratification a very inhumane thing. National Geographic has some articles on this topic.
Unfortunately this beautiful lion Cecil had to die for upheaval to ensue. Trophy hunters have been vilified on twitter and other social media sites a lot in the past year. With the documentary Blood Lions out last week, about canned hunting, the conversation is in full light and it is a very interesting topic.
I don’t understand why Palmer or any other hunter couldn’t use that $50,000 dollars to actually help conservation by putting it directly into the cause rather than this truly odd practice. My thoughts on the matter has not changed. I don’t like it. I don’t think it’s acceptable. Don’t use hunting companies, for tours or experiences. Choose national parks, choose regulation, choose the most humane option in all of this.
Topics like this, the treatment of animals, the ethics of keeping an animal in todays world is incredibly complex. A level of transparency and information is lacking. I feel like people keep talking but they aren’t really saying anything. I feel like I haven’t learnt anything.