American Public Roars After It Gets a Glimpse of International Trophy Hunting of Lions

By Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States

Cecil the lion is dead because Walter Palmer the dentist is a morally deadened human being.

The man traveled clear across the world – from the suburbs of Minneapolis into the pay-to-slay world of Zimbabwe, where dictator Robert Mugabe sells off hunting rights and other natural resources to the highest bidders – for the chance to kill the king of beasts. In this case, the victim was a lion who has been widely photographed and somewhat habituated to a non-threatening human presence in Hwange National Park. The hunt was a “guaranteed kill” arrangement, where Palmer paid about $50,000 to hire professional guides to help him complete the task. The local guides knew exactly what they were doing. In the dark of night, they lure a famed, black-maned lion from an otherwise protected area, with a dead carcass as bait. Palmer then stuck Cecil with an arrow.

Even though he’s used that weapon to kill countless other rare animals all over the globe – from leopards to black bears to Argali sheep – Palmer didn’t deliver a killing shot. He wounded the animal, and because he did it at night, I bet he didn’t have the courage to track the animal at that time. So he waited, while the lion tried to live minute to minute and hour to hour after receiving the stab wound from the arrow. At some point, Walter and the professional guides resumed the chase. It took them nearly two days to find him, and then they apparently shot him with a firearm. The killers then removed a radio collar nestled around his neck – because Cecil was also the object of a study by Oxford researchers. Some reports say they tried to —> Read More