By Dr. Andrew Jones
Millions of people are outraged following the death of Cecil the Lion.
I am one of them.
Cecil the lion, known for his black mane, was about 13 years old and a famous attraction for wildlife tourists in Zimbabwe until, earlier this month, he was tempted outside a national park using bait and shot with a bow and arrow. He is believed to have taken 40 hours to die.
Cecil was killed by Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, who reportedly paid $55,000 to participate in the hunt.
Cecil was lured out of a protected park with a dead animal used as bait tied on to the truck of the hunting guides, then had a spotlight shone on him.
Palmer first shot the lion, who was part of an Oxford University research project and wore a GPS collar, with a bow and arrow but that shot didn’t kill Cecil.
40 hours later, Palmer and professional hunter Theo Bronkhorst allegedly tracked the lion down and shot him with a gun. They tried and failed to destory the GPS collar; Cecil was beheaded and skinned.
Lions in Cecils Pride may die
The brutal killing of Cecil the lion will have long-lasting effects on his pride — and may even cost his 12 cubs their lives.
Since Cecil is no longer the head of the pride, the lion who takes over will most likely kill his cubs in an act of dominance.
“The saddest part of all is that now that Cecil is dead, the next lion in the hierarchy, Jericho, will most likely kill all Cecil’s cubs so that he can insert his own bloodline into the females,” Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, told the BBC.
What Palmer Said
“I hired several professionals and they secured all proper permits,” said Palmer. “To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted.
“I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favourite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt,” he said. “I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.”
Palmer is facing many consequences
His practice, Red River Dental, is shuttered, at least for now. A memorial of stuffed animals piles up at the door.
The website for the dental practice is no longer available online.
Online reviews are trashing his business.
The hashtag #WalterPalmer is being used to pepper him with threats and insults.
The Facebook page called “Shame Lion Killer Dr Walter Palmer and River Bluff Dental” is some 7,300 members strong.
Dental Practice Closed
Palmer said that the media, along with “a substantial number of comments and calls from people who are angered by this situation and by the practice of hunting in general,” has disrupted his ability to see his patients.
“I apologize profoundly for this inconvenience and promise you that we will do our best to resume normal operations as soon as possible.”
Dentist’s enthusiasm for hunting with bow and arrow
Cecil’s killing doesn’t appear to be the first time Palmer has gotten into trouble while hunting.
A man by the same name and age, and from the same town, illegally killed a black bear in Wisconsin several years ago, according to court documents.
That individual pleaded guilty to making false statements knowingly to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and was sentenced to one year on probation and ordered to pay a fine of nearly $3,000, records show.
A New York Times article in 2009 that profiled Palmer and his hunting methods said he had served a year of probation over the false statements case.
Dentist Who Killed Cecil The Lion Could Be Extradited To Zimbabwe
U.S. Fish and Wildlife said it will assist “in whatever manner requested.”
More than 40,000 people have signed a White House petition calling for Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer to be extradited to Zimbabwe to face justice for killing a beloved lion named Cecil.
First, the grisly and disturbing background: Palmer allegedly paid two Zimbabwean men $55,000 for what may have been the illegal killing of the famously black-maned animal.
“Ongoing investigations to date suggest that the killing of the lion was illegal since the land owner was not allocated a lion on his hunting quota for 2015. Therefore, all persons implicated in this case are due to appear in court facing poaching charges,” reads a joint statement released by Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management and the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe.
What can you do?
1. Sign this petition: Justice for Cecil the iconic collared lion slaughtered by trophy hunter in Zimbabwe..https://www.change.org/p/justice-for-cecil-the-iconic-collared-lion-slaughtered-by-trophy-hunter
2. Sign the White House Petition: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/extradite-minnesotan-walter-james-palmer-face-justice-zimbabwe
3. Support this legislation, make it Nationwide
New Jersey Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D) announced Wednesday he will file a bill during the state’s next legislative session that would ban transporting animal carcasses of endangered or threatened species through airports overseen by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey — Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports.
“This ban would cut off a link back to the United States for game hunters intent on importing the dead carcasses of endangered animals,” Eustace said. “Hopefully making it more difficult for these types of hunters to transport their ‘prizes’ will give them pause or perhaps even make them reconsider this type of inhumane activity.”
In light of Cecil’s death, Eustace is also calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to add the African lion to its endangered species list, something the service is currently considering. The lion’s status is currently listed as “threatened.”
4. Support politicians that want to BAN trophy hunting
I can’t believe that this still exists, but it is going strong around the world- here in BC hunters still kill diminishing Grizzly Bears in the name of a ‘trophy’
Seriously…it’s about time our elected officials stand up to the hunting lobby
5. Ultimately this will change- Dr Palmer’s life will NEVER be the same, his practice is closed, and his actions have led to life changing consequences. So serves him right.
Obviously there is more to this story, especially an increasing world wide population, less animal habitat, impoverished locals who will do just about anything for money, too little protection and support of threatened and endangered species.
Yet it starts with a handful of people who are ‘trophy’ hunters, who have thousands of disposable dollars, no conscience, and willing to break laws.
Trophy hunting should be banned.
If you trophy hunt you should spend many years in jail.
As should Walter Palmer
Andrew Jones, DVM
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