The Death of Cecil the Lion - Can anything good come of it?

The case of Cecil the lion has brought the issue of trophy hunting to a head, creating huge international awareness about this cruel, pointless, corrupt and outmoded behaviour. We, like many, have long believed that trophy hunting in Africa is from a bygone age and should no longer be permitted. 

Lets Use the Media Focus to Expose the Hunting Industry

Intense media focus on the hunting issue right now, could lead to something positive coming out of the death of this beautiful lion.

Each year, hundreds of animals, many of them critically endangered, are killed by people with more money than brains. Now is the time for concerned members of the public to apply pressure and act responsibly to work towards bringing an end to trophy hunting in Africa.

Below are some simple and effective ways for anybody with a few minutes spare, to make a contribution towards ending trophy hunting.

Ways to Help Stop Trophy Hunting in Africa

  • Put pressure on airlines to cease the export of threatened species to foreign countries. Emirates have already committed to do this. Sign this petition, or write to your national airline.
  • Donate (money or time) to reputable lion and other (rhino, especially) conservation groups. Operations like WildCRU, who were tracking Cecil, the African Wildlife Foundation and Chris Mercer’s Campaign Against Canned Hunting are just three of the many out there. National Geographic are also on board with their #5forBigCats initiative.
  • Put pressure on the US to list lions as an endangered species, which will make the import of lion body parts to the US illegal. The US represents the majority of the African trophy hunting market. Write to the president or sign the petition. Even better - do both.
  • Don’t support lion-oriented tourist operations – the lion cub-petting farms, the ‘volunteer programmes’ and Walking With Lions. By supporting these people, you’re going to be perpetuating the problem. These places are to be avoided, almost without exception. 
  • Learn the truth behind the hunting industry's puffed up claims around conservation, with this insightful National Geographic article from Derek Joubert.
  • Understand the mentality behind safari hunting – read (and share) Captain Paul Watson's recent Facebook post 
  • Educate yourself on the captive lion issue. Watch Blood Lions, a documentary on canned lion hunting:

A Few Important Facts About Lion Hunting in Africa

  1. There are currently thought to be about 7000 lions held (and bred) in captivity in Southern Africa, mostly to feed the trophy hunting and canned hunting industries. At least 800 of these lions are killed annually by hunters. None of them will ever live free in the wild.
  2. Captive-bred lions are not adapted to fear humans, and usually the hunts are 'canned' - taking place on small pieces of fenced land - so not much hunting is actually called. There is no 'sport' involved - the animal does not stand a chance, and the hunter is guaranteed a kill to take home and mount on the wall.
  3. ‘Lion Parks’ and captive breeding operations that claim to be working towards wild lion conservation are almost never true to their word. Unless there is a team of scientists and conservationists involved, this is simply a money-making racket, at the expense of the lions.
  4. Money made off these hunting practices seldom, if ever, goes to conservation of any kind. This is a fallacy made up by those making the money: the breeders, the government officials etc.
  5. There has never been a successful reintroduction of a hand-reared, human-imprinted lion into the wild. It just doesn’t happen.
  6. The volunteer programmes run by many of the breeding farms – offering hand-rearing of lion cubs and the like – are making more money off their volunteers. Those cubs you’re petting? They’ll be looking down the barrel of a trophy-hunter’s gun in a couple of years.
  7. Hunting lobbyist’s claims that conservation is supported by sports hunting are deeply questionable at best. It’s time we stop indulging such excuses.

KenLion and Cub - Ken

If you're not already familiar with the events surrounding the tragic and illegal death of Cecil the lion, we have outlined the facts for you below. 

The Death of Cecil - Hwange Reserve's Famous Lion

After Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist – who had paid $53,000 to kill and export a lion carcass from Zimbabwe – injured Cecil with his bow and arrow, the lion spent forty hours in pain, before trackers found him and shot him. He was a mature 13 year-old male who had been lured out of the safety of Hwange National Park with a dead animal tied to a truck. And they call it sport hunting. There is no sportsmanship here.

When an adult male lion is killed, the head of the pride, the younger males may kill his cubs. It’s how nature works. It encourages the female lions in the pride to mate with their new leader. Cecil the lion had at least six such cubs. That means it may not just be Cecil that died, but possibly seven lions, so that one man could fulfil his desire to hang the head of this magnificent creature on his wall.

Tambako The JaguarLion - Tambako The Jaguar

Part of an Oxford University research project, Cecil the lion was tagged. It was this fact that allowed the world at large to get a glimpse into the foul world of hunting. And it’s about time, too.

The Walter Palmer Witch Hunt

The internet has exploded with hate and vitriol directed at the hunter. While not necessarily undeserved, it tends to lose focus, as topics on social media often do. Yes, this lion had a name, but he’s one of hundreds that are killed each year, not only by this dentist but by hundreds of his fellow hunters.

This is not an isolated incident. This man is not alone in his ‘hobby’ of hunting. It is going on daily, throughout Africa.

Canned Hunting

Matt ReinboldCaged - Matt Reinbold

Canned hunting, now patronisingly ‘softened’ by the use of the term ‘captive hunting’, is the hunting of animals in an enclosed area, i.e. the animals have nowhere to escape. These lion are bred in capitivity, reared in captivity - most often by volunteers who pay to be there, under the misguided thinking that they're contributing to conservation - and then shot. In captivity.

There is no sportsmanship involved. It's a fiercely uneven game in which wildlife loses every time.

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