Today’s blog is by Henricus Peters, NAEE’s social media & e-journal editor.
On July 1st, 2015, a beautiful animal was killed, totally needlessly.  Social media exploded, rightly so.  When wildlife is seen only as a trophy, what does that say for us?
Cecil (c. 2002 – 1 July 2015) was a male Southwest African lion (Panthera leo bleyenberghi) who lived primarily in the Hwange National Park in Matabeleland NorthZimbabwe. The lion was a major attraction at the park and was being studied and tracked by the University of Oxford as part of a larger study.

Cecil was wounded with an arrow by Walter Palmer, an American recreational big-game hunter, was then tracked, and on 1 July 2015, reportedly killed with a rifle approximately 40 hours later. Palmer himself claims that Cecil was killed with a bow and arrow in much less than 40 hours after the lion was first wounded.  He was 13 years old when killed.  Two men in Zimbabwe are being prosecuted in relation to the hunt.  Palmer had a permit and was not charged with any crime. Authorities in Zimbabwe have said he is free to visit the country as a tourist but not as a hunter.

The killing resulted in international media attention and caused outrage among animal conservationists and criticism by politicians and celebrities, as well as a strong negative response against Palmer.  Five months after the killing of Cecil, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added two subspecies of lion, in India and western and central Africa, to the endangered species list, which includes the species of Cecil, making it more difficult for US citizens to kill these lions.  According to Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society, Cecil had “changed the atmospherics on the issue of trophy hunting around the world,” adding “I think it gave less wiggle room to regulators.


This is a key source of this story, and there is more info here.

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