This is Dame Jane Goodall’s statement about the well publicised and discussed shooting of Cecil the lion, a 13-year-old head of pride who was famous and a tourist attraction. Jane Goodall is famous as the world’s leading expert on chimpanzees having studied them in the wild in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania for 55 years.
“I was shocked and outraged to hear the story of Cecil, Zimbabwe’s much loved lion. Not only is it incomprehensible to me that anyone would want to kill an endangered animal (fewer than 20,000 wild lions in Africa today) but to lure Cecil from the safety of a national park and then to shoot him with a crossbow…?
I have no words to express my repugnance. He was not even killed outright, but suffered for hours before finally being shot with a bullet. And his magnificent head severed from his wounded body. And this behaviour is described as a “sport.” Only one good thing comes out of this – thousands of people have read the story and have also been shocked. Their eyes opened to the dark side of human nature. Surely they will now be more prepared to fight for the protection of wild animals and the wild places where they live. Therein lies the hope.”
Yes, well said Jane Goodall. It does publicise the activities of trophy hunters. It may help to reduce their activities. It publicises the way they operate and the way they love to kill animals for the fun of it no matter how grisly and upsetting it is to all the decent people of the world. In this instance Dr Palmer was obsessed it seems with the aim of killing the largest and most magnificent ‘big game’ he could find or pay people to produce these creatures. He tried to pay for the killing of a huge elephant after he was involved in killing Cecil but the Zimbabweans could not find one big enough so he flew home.
It appears that Palmer selected Cecil or the guides selected him based on his demands for a big male lion with a dark mane (I am speculating). Dark maned lions are more popular with lionesses than other males. They are seen as better in the task of fathering offspring.