Not too long ago I put up a post which got quite a number of hits:
In it I wrote of the current state of “big game” hunting in Africa, covering the taking of lions as trophies, the safari business and the dearth of wild lions where they used to be plentiful.
Very few shoot wild lions anymore. Very few can afford the cost of a “safari” without the “guarantee” that a lion will be killed and a head mounted in the living room. And there is much too great a chance that, after roaming around with your guide for a week and spending tens of thousands of dollars, you won’t see a lion to shoot.
Areas of Tanzania and Zimbabwe are so depopulated of lions that most safaris come back empty handed. That is not good for business.
Enter the “canned” safari. Lions are being bred in South Africa specifically so that hunters can shoot them. Money is made in South Africa by allowing tourists to play with the lion cubs and take their pictures; after all they are being bred for “environmental” purposes. Besides they are so cute.
These lions are then sold to game farms. Each hunter is guaranteed a lion for his money. First you wander around the giant game farm “on safari” for a few days; meanwhile “your” lion is brought to a specific place during the night.
Next morning you wander about a bit more and there it is! The lion doesn’t run of course; it’s been handled by humans many times during it’s life. It senses no danger. You can practically walk up to it and shoot it.
The few wild lions left in Zimbabwe are in it’s national parks. They too are not afraid of humans; they see them everyday, taking pictures.
Poachers will try to lure these lions out of the park in order to make a great white hunter happy. It’s easy. Just drag a carcass behind a slow moving truck at the edge of the park on adjecent private property.
This week a hunter and his “guides” lured a beloved lion named Cecil out of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, to be shot and killed as a trophy, The lion had a name for chriss sake! He was the star attraction of the park. Tourists took pictures of him everyday.
The July 1 killing of Cecil, a 13-year-old black-maned lion that held iconic stature in the wilderness preserve, sparked outrage as details began to leak about his death and how the lion was killed.
The lion was said to have been lured out of the park with an animal carcass tied to the bumper of a vehicle belonging to the hunting party, which was on private land outside of the park.
Cecil was shot with a crossbow, then stalked for forty hours and dispatched with a rifle. Nice
Cecil had been wearing a GPS collar as part of a longstanding research program. It’s illegal to hunt collared animals, and the collar was illegally removed after the lion was skinned and beheaded. I wonder if his killer took a picture, smiling with his crossbow over the carcass?
While it was first reported that a Spanish hunter killed the lion it was later determined the man who killed Cecil was Walter James Palmer of Minnesota. He has admitted it was indeed he.
Palmer is a “globe-trotting big-game hunter.” Photos of him posing with animals he has killed are being shared on hunting blogs and other web sites. Palmer was once convicted of poaching a bear in Wisconsin.
Two men who lead the hunt have been arrested in Zimbabwe and charged with poaching; one of them is the owner of the private land on to which Cecil was lured and shot.
“What does this say about all the “hunter-conservationists” we read so much about? They supposedly shoot lions to benefit the species by spending lots of money to employ people and benefit communities, build schools and clinics, and put funds in Government coffers to be used for wildlife protection.
But if they are defecting at a great rate from such high moral stances to shoot captive raised lions in South Africa, how serious about conservation were they in the first place? It is beginning to look like all they cared about was a lion trophy by any means or standards – underage, lured from a protected area, or captive-raised?”
In the early 1960’s, when Tanzania was still Tanganyika, I saw wild rhino close up – they were as easy to find as Kilimanjaro. No more.
Lions, tigers, elephants and rhinos are killed for profit by poachers and by the egos of “hunters” for their orgasmic self-gratification.
Our brave white hunter, Mr Walter James Palmer, is a dentist.
A fukkin dentist.
Did he shoot his wad when he killed a collared lion?
P.S. – Yesterday this post included a video of Cecil calming walking passed a flock of tourists taking his picture. The video had thousands of hits and had been up for months. Today the video is “no longer available”. I have no idea why.
So here is another put up today after the killing of Cecil. It is not nearly as kind.