Justice for Cecil the Lion

Hunting has been a beloved pastime by many people around the globe. As more and more individuals hunt, the numbers of some species have fallen drastically. To fight the extinctions, national parks in Africa have produced sanctuaries that attempt to keep numbers of endangered animals steady. However, trophy hunters are still allowed to hunt some endangered species, with the use of strict guidelines. Recently, Walter James Palmer shot and killed a lion, which was later to be determined as the famous Cecil. This lion was an important part of Zimbabwe’s National Park and many people across the world, including conservationists, have become angered by the dentist’s actions. Through this controversy, the question, “Should Palmer face consequences for his actions?” arises as well as the overall ethical value of trophy hunting.

With a resume of 43 registered kills, including a black rhino, leopard and a bison, there’s no doubt that the Dentist is no stranger to big game hunting. While that may be shocking to some, it’s his most recent kill that put him in hot water. Cecil the lion was regarded more highly ­than the average lion. Not only was he the star attraction of the  Hwange national park, but Cecil was part of an Oxford University study that focused on lion behavior.

Walter claimed that the killing of Cecil was simply an accident, and that his guides are to blame for the event. This is where controversy begins, as Cecil was illegally lured out of Hwange national park. Using an animal carcass, Palmer and his guides coaxed Cecil out of the park to legal hunting grounds. From there, Palmer shot Cecil with a bow. Rather than dying instantly, Cecil was tracked for an additional 40 hours until he finally bled out and died. Once the hunters found his carcass they discovered that Cecil had a tracking collar, which was planted by Oxford University. Once the GPS device was seen, the team tried “to destroy it,” said Johnny Rodrigues- head of Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force. Cecil was then skinned and beheaded. This fact by itself draws suspicious attention as they attempted to cover up this by damaging the GPS collar. When I initially heard this, I became furious as it seemed that the hunting team they knew exactly what they were doing. Rather than communicating with the authorities of their mistake, they went about it in a very wrong manner. If Palmer was truly innocent and had any decency, he should have came clean long before new broke on the story. For that, I believe he is an immoral person. act

Some individuals are finding it difficult to show empathy towards Cecil, since it was only one lion that Palmer killed. In this case, Cecil was the leader of the pride, which meant he had a huge impact on the surrounding community. Now that the leader has died, a power struggle within the pride will most likely commence In order to breed, the male lions will kill Cecil’s cubs. Instead of just one lion killed, Palmer’s careless actions have sparked a downward spiral as most of the pride will be in danger. Lions have already been on a steady decline, losing 60% of the population in the last three decades. With only 32,000 lions left in the world, each death is a devastation to the animal kingdom.

Palmer has had a run in with authorities before. Back in 2008, Palmer was found guilty of hunting a black bear in illegal territory. A 40 mile difference was the distance between the permitted zone and the actual spot that Palmer killed the bear. Lying to authorities of a legal kill, he moved the bear into the permitted zone in Wisconsin. Once found guilty, Palmer was fined $2,938. This case is evidence that Palmer is an unlawful hunter, which is the reason why critics say he knew what he was doing by luring Cecil out of the national park.

Although Walter James Palmer claims it was an accident, and that he wouldn’t have killed Cecil if he knew of his importance, he has become one of the most hated individuals as of recent. Every day, Cecil’s story grows more and more as people are affected emotionally by the issue. Siding with the lion, these compassionate individuals have been calling for justice to Palmer’s horrific actions. Palmer’s Business, River Bluff Dental, has also become targeted by the outraged public through harsh yelp reviews and Facebook comments. The abuse has been so bad, that the business’s Facebook page has been removed from the site.

Rose George wrote an article that called for no empathy towards Palmer.  George’s opinion on the matter sides with most of the media, in that the killing was tragic. What was really interesting about the article was George not only showing anger towards Palmer, but setting an example on being civilized. George expressed that the violent objection to hunters isn’t the way to go about calling for justice. Instead of targeting Palmer, George focused more on the main issue at hand, poaching and trophy hunting. While I understand her argument, I believe that sometimes it is necessary to go above and beyond when trying to get a point across. By using one person as

The refutation of this argument is that there is nothing wrong with killing a lion or other endangered animals if taken the right steps. Palmer paid $50,000 to shoot Cecil, which he like many hunters claim go towards conservation efforts. However, a study was made showing that 3-5% of trophy bids actually go towards conservation. Hunters have also supported Palmer by stating that trophy hunting is a sport. This man versus beast experience has been said to be exhilarating and those who have never killed an animal wouldn’t understand. While it is a sport, it is seen very unethical by many conservationists and animal lovers. With all this said, it’s evident that there is corruption within the industry. I understand that hunting can be enjoyable to some. I’m more than willing to allow individuals to hunt for food or moderate species numbers, but hunting endangered animals is just plain unethical.

Like many issues, there are two sides being supported here. However; the unbalance of opinions can’t go unnoticed as most people are discussing the ethical value of killing animals and abolishing it all together. Countries like Kenya are reaping the benefits since the ban of Trophy hunting back in 1977. Millions of dollars are produced via ecotourism, which proves that successful conservation efforts can be achieved without hunting bids.

If nothing were to be done about this case, then similar kills such as this are likely to occur again. This tragedy should push for a stronger fight against hunters and poachers, with the stoppage of the trophy hunting industry as the final result of this political push. If anyone were to kill the targeted trophy animals, it could drastically change species numbers and possibly even extinction. It’s sad that an animal like Cecil had to die, but it seems to have opened the eyes of many to the horrific nature of trophy hunting.


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