I AM 100% AGAINST TROPHY HUNTING!
Now that I've gotten that out of the way let's calmly discuss some things. Since Cecil the Lion's death was made public, trophy hunting has gotten a lot of media coverage. People have been contacting me on Twitter, Instagram, and by e-mail asking my opinion or telling me theirs.
So let's start with the hunters. Trophy hunters are NOT regular hunters. Regular hunters kill an animal within the bounds of the law, as humanely as possible, and use their kills for food. Trophy hunters kill an animal for fun, take a few body parts for their "trophies" and waste the rest. A few trophy hunters dare to call themselves heroes because they give the meat from their kill to feed "local villagers", after they pose appropriately for photos, with their kill of course. Trophy hunters take great joy in killing a big beast, conquering a huge animal to be able to say they are better and have the photos and body parts to prove it. Some say they are doing it to preserve the "sport" of hunting. The worst say they are "helping conservation by culling the old or weak". All Trophy Hunters Kill for the sake of killing and being "superior". Note to the hunters: if you required a weapon you are not superior.
Americans have been featured in the news for being the worst Trophy Hunters on the planet. It is important to note that they are on the news probably because they brag too much, but are not the only ones that exist. Trophy hunters are well know in all of the industrialized countries from the USA to Great Britain, and yes even Australia, as well as many more. Trophy Hunting is seen as a wealthy persons 'right'. I say person because both Males and Females are trophy hunters. I point out the wealthy because they do the most damage, however, there are some who are not as well off who are also trophy hunters. Yes I am repeating "Trophy Hunters" because it needs to be clear not all hunters are the same.
Now types of hunters, this always amazes me. There are some who use helicopters and high powered rifles but most use guides. Guides are hired to track and find an animal then when a good shot is available, the "Trophy Hunter" steps in to take a shot. Hmmm Shot? Sometimes it is a gun shot, other times it's an arrow. It amazes me how many different types of weapons there are for a hunter to choose from.
Hunting or Poaching? Hunting is legal, sanctioned, licensed, during daylight, and allowed by a specific authority in a specific area for a specific species type. Poaching is Illegal, No permits, No account for species type, often times at night. Poaching is also when a legal hunter with a permit takes an animal during illegal hours, from the wrong area, or the wrong sex/size/species. Poachers Know It's Illegal.
"Palmer responded later Tuesday, saying in a statement that he "deeply" regretted the pursuit of the early July hunt in Zimbabwe that "resulted in the taking of this lion." He added that he "had no idea" Cecil the lion was a "known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study. I hired several professional guides and they secured all proper permits. To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted." "
As a Biologist I have an extremely hard time believing he didn't know this lion was protected. As you can see in the photos above the collar identifying him as a protected and tracked lion is very visible. While it is not visible head on, a good hunter would check before killing. At the very least after his death when the collar was seen he should have reported his "accident" to authorities. The fact that they removed the collar and continued with photos and collecting trophies shows all of their guilt in this poach.
The following Is what is Alleged to have happened: The Dentist reportedly paid $55,000 US to some local guides to secure permits and lead the hunt for the best lion. It is alleged that Cecil was lured out with bait, at night, from his protected reserve. It is alleged the Trophy Hunter then shot him with a cross bow, also at night, wounding him but not killing him. It is alleged they tracked him for 40 hours before one of the guides finally killed him with a gun shot. The Trophy Hunter then posed for photos with the dead lion before having the guides decapitate and skin him for his "trophy", the rest of the body was left behind.
Why He should have known is was Poaching: Collar, Night, Baiting ..... All Illegal!
Now the pro trophy hunters people are arguing that it is a fine sport, conservation friendly, and our right as humans. They say the hunters should never be held accountable only the advisors or guides.
On the extreme other side you have organizations and individuals who say this is why all hunting should be illegal and all humans should become vegans.
I say there has to be a humane in between.
For example, places like Hawaii and Australia are islands that have a feral pig problem and hunters that humanely, legally kill for food are helping save the native wildlife. You are never going to convince some cultures or people to give up meat or dairy. What needs to happen are stronger consequences for anyone involved in an illegal and inhumane hunting or poaching death. TROPHY HUNTING SHOULD BE BANNED! If you the hunter are not going to skin it and eat it yourself, you have no right to kill it. We need to educate people on the importance of every species and their place in the ecosystem. A hunter should never be the judge of which animals to cull for the sake of conservation. We need to make Bow Hunting Illegal Everywhere! Yes a really good hunter can kill with a bow in one shot, most bow hunters think they are that good, the truth is more suffer then get killed quickly so this option needs to be banned. We Need To Keep The Discussion Going! These things happen every single day in countries all over the world. Let's ask ourselves why it takes one public incident to get outraged. We should be mad everyday and turn that anger into useful action and a voice for those who can't speak for themselves.
Another Huge Issue that has to be addressed is "canned" or "farmed trophy hunting". There are "ranches" in places like Texas, USA and China, and several African countries that raise huge predators such as lions and tigers, and big game from Giraffe to Wildebeest, just for Trophy hunters to come kill. At these places you can get your picture taken with the cute babies being raised to be hunted as adults. After your photo op, you then get to go out into fenced acreage to hunt the "big one", your choice lion, bear, giraffe, tiger? It's up to the Trophy hunter....for a price. After their kill, the preferred pieces are kept as trophies and the rest is tossed. It's disgusting and we need to speak up to stop this from happening. Start with your country, find out the laws in your State or Provence and if they don't suit your standards Speak Up! Then tell everyone around you to speak up.
I have no words for the hunters comparing trophy hunting to deer hunting for food or human abortions...... then again maybe I do...... You are Idiots! Get Educated.
Sad Things Happen Every Day. Good Things Happen Every Day. Use your emotions to help not to overwhelm you.
LASTLY, I'll end with GOOD NEWS!
Cecil has a famous brother named Jericho. Jericho is not Cecil's blood brother but a lifelong friend who stepped in to take care of Cecil's pride upon his death. It's being reported that because he has always been part of the pride he is not showing signs of infanticide and instead is doing the unthinkable and taking care of Cecil's offspring. The news reported that he too had been killed. They were wrong. He is alive, healthy and has more protection then anything else in the country so at least he will live on. Jericho has a GPS tracker so Poachers beware! You are being watched.
This highly opinionated blog post didn't even come close to covering everything that needs to be discussed and fixed. I purposely didn't post links, names, or horrifying pictures. The point if this blog to get the DISCUSSION started. Fighting with opposing opinions never achieves anything. Listen, reply, educate. Try not to be condescending or believe you know it all. If that doesn't work, walk away. If you are on social media the BLOCK button is your friend for closed minded people. Let's not waste our time on the unfixable people. Let's put our efforts to the Fixable problems. Together we can stop Trophy Hunting!
We can all learn something new. Now off to battle! One calm discussion at a time......
To All Trophy Hunters... Karma's a bitch!