I have decided that it is just about possible that Walter Palmer, the instantly infamous dentist and father of two from Minnesota who took pleasure in killing Zimbabwe’s most famous male lion, was stitched up by the guides who led him into shooting Cecil, the lion, outside of his protected area, a national park. The objective: to highlight the unacceptable nature of lion hunting when they are a vulnerable species rapidly heading towards extinction in the wild.
You may know that the guides lured this tiger from the National Park where he resided and was protected thereby placing him in a vulnerable position which gave the impression to the hunter that he could legally shoot him.
As it happens the news got out that he was lured away from the park with bait being dragged behind a vehicle and shot illegally and there is now a clamour for the perpetrators to be prosecuted and Palmer is being vilified.
This story is big news and there are calls across social media and on petition sites for greater restrictions on big-game hunting in Africa. There are 150 lion hunting operations in South Africa making good money some of which are involved in canned hunting. In canned hunting, lions are bred solely for the purpose of being killed by rich Western hunters. Five thousand lions are bred this way.
Perhaps conservationists realised that the only way to highlight the problem of excessive lion hunting in South Africa, and I presume across other countries on the continent of Africa, was to sacrifice Zimbabwe’s most famous lion in order to benefit the others in the future. That would account for the fact that Cecil, a very well-known lion with a big following was selected by the guides for Walter Palmer. Of all the available lions why Cecil? It is seems extraordinary.
If the guides are prosecuted and genuinely punished then this theory can thrown out but let’s wait and see. I doubt whether anyone will be prosecuted despite what the authorities are saying.
There is another aspect of this notorious example of big game hunting which is intriguing. Walter Palmer paid £35,000 for the privilege and the pleasure of killing this lion. I wonder whether other people believe, as I do, that this is a cheap price for the life of such a magnificent creature. If people are intent and insistent upon killing lions in S. Africa and it cannot be stopped then surely the price should be much higher; somewhere in the region of ten times that figure would be more applicable and it would certainly put the brakes on this obnoxious practice.
P.S. Cecil’s cubs are in danger of being killed by an incoming male lion: infanticide.
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