Time to Shut Down Trophy Imports of All Lions to the United States

By on July 31, 2015 with 57 Comments

Overnight, we learned that Zimbabwean officials will seek to extradite Walter Palmer from the United States, for luring a male lion named Cecil out of a park and wounding him in an unauthorized area, before killing him 40 hours later. The HSUS and Humane Society International (HSI) strongly urge the United States to cooperate with the extradition effort.

If Palmer broke the law, plaudits are due to Zimbabwean officials for seeking his prosecution. Apparently, the authorities have charged the guide involved and plan to bring charges against the landowner. Let’s face it — these three horsemen of the apocalypse knew exactly what they were doing. Palmer has a museum full of dead animals registered in the Pope and Young and Safari Club International record books – from lions to polar bears to rhinos, most of them shot with bow and arrow. Throughout his life, he has intentionally sought out the biggest specimens of animals in order to get his name memorialized as a “successful” trophy hunter. He had designs on Cecil because he was one of the biggest lions around. This was not chance, as Palmer claimed; it was a professional hit.

I am glad that there’s such worldwide outrage about Walter Palmer and his trophy killing. What he and his shoot-for-pay guides did was evil. Editorial boards, columnists, and average citizens are talking about his moral crime across the globe, and demanding justice. A White House petition calling on the U.S. government to extradite Palmer had gathered more than 170,000 signatures this morning.

But if the focus begins and ends with Walter Palmer, we will not have appropriately addressed the larger problem. That’s why we are glad to see so many others focused on the larger issues.

Yesterday, Reps. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., co-chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus – both stalwart champions of animal welfare – led a letter signed by 48 other House Democratic members urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to finalize its proposed rule listing the African lion as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The United Nations General Assembly has also passed a resolution condemning the poaching and trafficking of wildlife and calling on governments worldwide to take action to tackle these challenges. And on Monday, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, D-N.J., a devoted friend to the work of The HSUS and HSI, is introducing a bill to ban all imports of trophies and parts from African lions and other at-risk species into the United States. The bill is called the Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large (CECIL) Animal Trophies Act.

That’s because Palmer is not so different from thousands of other wealthy trophy hunters in the United States and throughout the world, who hopscotch all over the earth in luxury and comfort to kill the largest “specimens” of the rarest mammals. Baiting, jacklighting, shooting in parks or fenced areas, with guides even drugging animals to allow these aging men to shoot these magnificent creatures, are all par for the course. That’s their hobby, albeit a warped, selfish, and inhumane one. It’s going on every day in the remote reaches of the globe, enabled by professional guides and wildlife officials who are at least complicit if not directly on the take from rich people with a mania for killing the most beautiful creatures in the world.

As for Zimbabwe, this is a country long plagued by terrible leadership in the post-colonial era, and it is a nation deeply corrupted, autocratic, and ruthless when it comes to the treatment of wildlife. Walter Palmer went there because there are too many officials there ready and willing to sell off wildlife to the highest bidder. Good for them for seeking extradition this time– but let’s just not be fooled into thinking that this is a principled, forward-thinking government at work.

Zimbabwe is even allowing wealthy foreigners to slay elephants for trophies. That program is so badly managed that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service suspended imports of elephant trophies from that country in 2014 and again in 2015.

If Zimbabwe is serious about taking action, it should follow in the footsteps of Botswana and ban all trophy hunting. It should turn the pages of the history books and step into the era of wildlife watching and appreciation. Eco-tourism dwarfs trophy hunting in its economic impact, and it’s got great promise as a sustainable means of livelihood for Africans and African economies. Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and other nations are showing the way. Now it’s time for Zimbabwe to stop allowing targets on the backs of its glorious and diminishing wildlife.

It’s time for these nations to tell the Walter Palmers that the world is no longer open for the kind of business they want to pursue – bloody, ruthless, with  no moral value, and one of such depravity that it is an ugly mark on all of humanity.

Ask the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to protect African lions from extinction »

Humane Society International, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

Subscribe to the Blog

Enter your email address below to receive updates each time we publish new content.


Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. lauren ansel says:

    What was done to Cecil the Lion is absolutely horrible and outrageous!!! This needs to stop ASAP!!

    • Karyn Benjamin says:

      Please join our facebook group Shame Lion Killer Walter Palmer.

      • Mrs Marty Mathieson says:

        I’d like to join your Facebook group shaming Cecil’s murderer.

      • Lee says:

        I also would like to find out about the facebook site. I’m afraid what’s going to happen is once all the controversy is done, he will start hunting again and killing innocent beings….

        • Sandra Silvestri (Save Africa) says:

          This is a very big topic and it it’s going away anytime soon..President Obama signed the bill declaring the African lion has been added to the Endangered List. Which was led by over 236,000 signatures..They have even closed down 2 upcoming events where Trophy Hunters gather and their working on another which will be held in Las Vegas Close and raise your fists cause this one will not go down with a fight….. You can keep up with a lot of information from my Twitter page (Save Africa) and so many other people who are fighting this cause..you can also go on many FB sights..Lots of information out therep this alive… here are a couple of info I received from others…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHQog4e2fsM you can see more..https://twitter.com/6th_commandment..America strong

  2. Michelle siriani says:

    Disgusting. All sport hunting should end

  3. Debbie Singer says:

    Not just lions, shut down all animals being imported back and BAN ALL TROPHY/CANNED HUNTING NOW.

  4. Charles Jos Biviano says:

    Trophy hunting is no longer acceptable in today’s society.

    • Phyllis Paperno says:

      As life on earth becomes more at risk for all of us, why would we kill for money? Oh, we already do that? Well, let’s stop now. Let’s sign petitions and turn out for demonstrations and see if we can get some rights back for humans and animals and all living beings rights back.

  5. Michelle Barbour says:

    Sad that we actually have to pass a law against this. What type of person would want to harm let alone “bring home a trophy” of a beautiful animal? There is something wrong with someone feeling satisfaction from killing a beautiful being. This is way pass due – lets get this done.

  6. Tanja Pirttilä says:

    Threats have already been made towards Cecil’s brother by Shayne Sissons.

    • Cristina says:

      I saw that disgusting post. And there are still people believing the lie that they serve a higher purpose, while the vile truth is in plain sight. I hope actions are taken to secure safety. Thank you HSUS and HSI for all your precious efforts and work.

    • Katy Hennessy says:

      I didn’t know that and it’s Important information. Thanks.

  7. scarlett brotherton says:

    This should not be happing. This is horrible. The dentist should be punished to the fullest extent of the law and measures should be takin to make sure this never happeneds again.

  8. Peggy Kaplan says:

    Thank you HSUS for giving us things we can do to stop the importation trophy kills in this country.

  9. Adao Freedom says:

    The great embarrassment to the US.

    Justice now!


    • Selina says:

      Don’t these people have anything else to do with their money like feed the hungry people around the world or something?

      This makes me very sick and him as well as others need to actually do some Prison time for what they have done, so they can feel some of the pain they make the animal fee. Unfortunately they usually get a slap on the wrist and that’s why they continue to do what they do. Also if The United States can extradite someone, so should other countries.

  10. Erin Miller says:

    I agree 100%!! I think all trophy hunting should be banned/illegal 100%, but the least that should be done is to make it illegal in Africa period!! No more trophy hunting in Africa period!!! Let’s do this!!

  11. Susan Dubovsky says:

    It makes me mad and sad when any animal is exploited, it should never happen again.

    Wondering what has become of Cecils’ remains, I think that he deserves a proper burial.

    And of course justice for his killer must be an example, all trophy hunting should be banned.

  12. Judy Pufahl says:

    Someone who enjoys killing so much that they would spend $50,000. Cannot comprehend the magnitude of that action. This is a very very sad person. Would not want this person(?) to even touch my mouth. Maybe the sacrifice of Cecil will put an end to this barbaric action.

  13. Antoinette Lopes says:

    Stop all trophy hunting period! It is not a sport!!!

  14. Donna Lysinger says:

    I think it’s about time all countries, take action to stop this greedy money making poaching of beautiful animal’s. Palmer & all the men knew what they were doing & it was breaking the law. I don’t think much of these inhuman sicko’s to have the nerve to go to a country & bribe & bait an animal in protected area & breaking the law to poach a lion to hang in his grave yard room to show off these animal body part’s, to give him an ego, & the jerk’s that helped him, prove there men. Palmer a dentist, a big smile on his face & whoever was with him for the world to see. He should be & the people that helped him sent to this country to get the justice that’s coming to them & send then to the poor house. No morel men here for children to look up to. All palmer has to say I’m sorry & all forgotten, I don’t think so , take away all his gun’s & arrow’s & what ever he has to hunt with & license too. The head of Cecil also he should have it. Lat’s see his smile on his face & the inhuman that was with him.

  15. Donna Lysinger says:

    Trophy’s of all animal’s part’s be banned. Protect Cecil’s brother, he has someone eyeing him up. Take heed to warning. by Shayne Sissons. Tanja Pirttila said in her comment threat’s have been made toward’s Cecil brother. Let it back fire, that they catch them & tie them up That Cecil’s brother is saved. Take away license & hunting gear, & let the people of this country do a harsh punishment on them & these other glutton’s keep away leave the animal’s alone for GOD SAKE .Take up painting or knitting.

  16. Elke McCauley says:

    Trophy hunting needs to stop! Period!

  17. Linda Johnson says:

    I think info like trophy hunting would be a better off read /alert if it was more succinct.. people notoriously lose interest when they have to read so.much. IMO

  18. Candee Gordon says:

    This should have been stopped long ago from these monsters. Cecil would be alive today. It’s a tragedy what happened to that beautiful and majestic beast, Cecil. Rest in Peace Cecil. <3

  19. L. Lance says:

    The only punishment for Palmer is to be hauled back to Zimbabwe, tried, convicted, and thrown in an overcrowded, boiling hot prison for at least 15 to 20 years! I hope his family becomes destitute and on the street after this incident, only with Palmer to blame. The amount of money he spent to go on a murderous, illegal mission is even more disgusting. Think of how many people and animals that same amount of money could’ve helped, instead of used for such vile, evil purposes. He has his day of karma coming.

  20. Nicole says:

    The psychology of Walter Palmer is classic narcissism as supported by indications that it is his intent to have his name added to the roster of big game hunters who have killed the largest animal species on the planet; otherwise known as the “Big Five” hunt. Anyone who is a paying member of Safari Club International pays to kill animals for sport. This club tries to market itself as a ‘conservation club’ but we all know the hidden agendas of these so-called conservationists. There is NO WAY that the lion is a species in need of culling; they are already endangered (much less the rhinoceros, African elephant, polar bear, tiger, and leopard of any color).

    Palmer’s behavior creates yet another notch on the bedpost of why American tourists are hated around the world.

  21. Ian Giles says:

    Stop all hunting.
    Hunters are not conservationists.
    Stop hunter groups from impacting decisions at US Fish And Wildlife
    Target politicians like Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush (good debate questions)
    Stop Dallas Safari Club from all hunting while “sponsoring conservation”
    Stop International Safari Club from doing the same.
    Expose and end canned hunting practices

  22. Cristina pepe says:

    Non deve più accadere. La caccia deve essere paragonata e punita alla stregua di un assassinio. Il trofeo poi è l’epilogo della stupidità umana.. È una vergogna che è propria solo del genere umano. Salviamo i veri SIGNORI del mondo, gli ANIMALI.

  23. Lorrie says:

    I agree with all said about Zimbabwe but we also need to stop canned hunting right in Texas!!!!
    Cubs are raised to be “hunted” in an enclosed area right in the USA!
    Let’s stop all the canned and trophy hunting !

  24. sarah moody says:

    Please stop this it is barbaric!!!

  25. Bruce Weir says:

    There are brain abnormalities identified in serial killers discovered during brain scans of people such as these which are not present in ‘normal’ human beings. I wonder what sort of brain abnormalities there might be in those people who get a kick out of killing animals for enjoyment.

  26. Nat T says:

    No words, only tears. Rest in peace dear Cecil. xxx

  27. Thomas Sutcliffe says:

    An excellent and important post. The practice of trophy hunting needs to banned outright.

  28. Karen says:

    I signed up for the long term donation due to Cecil.

  29. Joan Bradley says:

    I think its outrage for this guy to be free he tortured this living breathing poor animal where is his selfpride he’s a coward.He shouldvbe put and tortured for 40 hours

  30. Laura T says:

    I’m so glad everyone is outraged over this and none of us has to cry in silence over what was done to this beautiful majestic lion. Trophy hunting has got to stop!! I cannot understand how killing an animal is a sport. The fight is never fair. You have a gun, they don’t.

  31. Linda Meek says:

    Its amazing to me that this hasn’t come to the attention of the animal protection agencies long before now. When I think of all the outdoor sporting goods stores I’ve been in that proudly display their museums of hundreds of killed and stuffed animals from foxes to water buffalo to bears of all species, and dozens of mountain goats of the same species, and elephants and prides of lions, (I’m thinking of one specific Bass Pro Shop in Central Pennsylvania in particular and I know it is the regular to display at others) I can’t imagine what it is about killing defenseless animals and displaying them that makes an adult man feel good about themselves. It disgusts me and makes me sick to my stomach.

    “the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated”
    Mahatma Gandhi

    I am greatly ashamed of the human nation I am a part of!

  32. Linda Meek says:

    Its amazing to me that this hasn’t come to the attention of the animal protection agencies long before now. When I think of all the outdoor sporting goods stores that proudly display their museums of hundreds of killed and stuffed animals from foxes to water buffalo to bears of all species, and dozens of mountain goats of the same species, and elephants and prides of lions, (I’m thinking of one specific Bass Pro Shop in Central Pennsylvania) I can’t imagine what it is about killing defenseless animals and displaying them that makes an adult man feel good about themselves. It disgusts me and makes me sick to my stomach.

    “the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated”
    Mahatma Gandhi

    I am greatly ashamed of the human nation I am a part of!

  33. Linda Meek says:

    Its amazing to me that this hasn’t come to the attention of the animal protection agencies long before now. When I think of all the outdoor sporting goods stores that proudly display their museums of hundreds of killed and stuffed animals from foxes to water buffalo to bears of all species, and dozens of mountain goats of the same species, and elephants and whole prides of lions, I can’t imagine what it is about killing defenseless animals and displaying them that makes humans feel good about themselves.

    “the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated”
    Mahatma Gandhi

    I am greatly ashamed of the human nation I am a part of!

  34. John Wood says:

    Check in to the real facts before you cry and demand the end of the only thing that is keeping those animals alive. The money from Legal trophy hunters pay for the rangers that stop POACHERS who sell the parts to Arabs,Japanese and others who want them for aphrodisiacs,tribal symbols of powere etc and don’t care if they wipe out every animal . PETA, and other “save the animal” groups give miniscule money to help. And only pay lip service on Facebook and Twitter and do NOTHING constructive.

  35. christina Pafitis says:

    hunting is not a sport its murder we need to stop all trophy hunting to all wild life NOW

  36. david ruse says:

    PEOPLE who kill animals for a trophy instead of taking a picture are a bunch of assholes who themselves need a bullet

  37. Rosie L Goonan says:

    Please stop the Trophy Hunting in United States for all
    Animals Rosie L. Goonan

  38. JAN PAYNE says:

    No more Trophy Hunting

  39. Donna Lysinger says:

    I think that Cecil ‘s head should be removed from the dentist’s trophy room, or where ever it;s at. This trophy hunting of all kind of creatures should stop. These people could donate to the homeless, to help build or fix up building,s for the homeless, food bank bank, animal rescue saving animal’s lives instead of taking there live’s. Airlines all over the world or who ever could get them into the U S A stop doing so. ,Cecil’s head should be returned & put somewhere in a place for all of zimbabey to see to remember & put an end to poaching ,& no killing of all animal/s.

  40. Kristina Hughes says:

    I wrote this stand-up comedy bit before Cecil was tortured and murdered by Walter Palmer. I now mention him in the beginning as the coward he is.
    Please enjoy and share this. #StopTrophyHunting. Thank you!



  41. Evelyn J Lennon says:

    Someone should hunt down Walter Palmer with an arrow and just wound him, and keep chasing him and shoot arrows at him and make him run for his life. He should be beheaded.

  42. Donna Lysinger says:

    I feel it’s inhuman to kill an animal for body part’s & let the rest lay to rot, when there is so much needed food to stay alive. Waste not want, not.

  43. Donna Lysinger says:

    It’s about time this poaching is gotten rid of & no trophy of any animal is not aloud in U S A or any other country. Do what ever it takes to stop the poaching of any animal or creature. This is nothing but ego macho stuff, & love of money. Why don’t they donate the money to saving of animal’s make more of a human than inhuman. Food bank’s cancer , & other drives for help would be a good useful donation of poacher’s money & would’n be for the love of money. It would be a fruitful ego macho thing to make a better human man or woman to do this. Not pick on a helpless creature to show off your blood money for ego macho feeling.

  44. Sharon Fenderson says:

    Once again man proves to be the two-headed monster inflicting pain and fatality on the innocent sentient living breathing beings without a moral compass let alone compassion!!!

  45. rosalind fourton bellman says:

    people when palmer the coward went back to work,his whole office was laughing,at his comment to reporter. i didn’t do any thing wrong,you know what i would do it again as he laughed entering his office,while they all laughed & said how good to see you back. reporter asked a person why did you go to him.he said i needed some work done. i would remove every hunters passport that trophy hunts over seas or here or mexico. then i would take the trophies away from them,then revoke there license for i would close down all ????? wild life ranches.surely they can live their life out better than we could afford to?

  46. Donna Lysinger says:

    Yes all trophy hunting of all animal’s should be banned from & not aloud in any country. The head of Cecil should be removed from the guy that killed him against the law as a cowardly poor sport sman. All of these poacher’s are poor sport’s men. I’m not against hunting for food in the season’s of hunting but don’t break the law, or for trophy showing to make money off of & endanger wild life I don’t like.

    • Sandra Silvestri (Save Africa) says:

      Imagine how many children could be fed..taking homeless families,off the streets, medical research and education and so on much more this money could do.for the people here in their own country Helping take care of our own first…The only thing Zimbabwe cares about is blood money..If Trophy Hunter’s money was going where it should have been going. to the places it was suppose to go, The people who are destitute and exposed to danger every day, should by this time been taken care of by now…If these goals where met, there would be no need for Trophy Hunting but what would that mean for the Capital?? This is far from conservation efforts and feeding locals..This about the kill for these sorry pieces of fecal matter, It’s about a sick twisted addiction that one needs to do bust up ego and feel dominant to taking down a very big and dangerous animal…If you really think about it..Trophy Hunting is Poaching..They both kill animals, they both slaughter them by stripping them of what ever they can to for fill their needs..Really?? The big difference here is that if you stuff tens of thousands of dollars in the pockets of the Governments pocket, he’ll turn the other way…..Shame on Arnold Palmer for plotting this kill and leaving the other 2 guys to pay the price because he just had to have that rare, black maned lion head for his death collection of all the other animals hanging on his walls he as killed before..He’s nothing but a coward and the reason Zimbabwe doesn’t extradite Palmer is because if he does, It may drive other hunter’s to go elsewhere..He goes free and the other 2 can go to jail for up to 7 years…I have a feeling Palmer paid Zimbabwe off to keep this quiet..This wouldn’t be the first time he took on an illegal hunt and tried to bribe the guys that were with him..He along with his piers are spoiled little nobodies who believe they are above the law and they will tell a story to try to justify this sickness…do not buy into it..It’s nothing but jibber jabber..and I’ve heard it all.. These are Senseless piece’s of shit.and deserve no respect.The African lion outside the Polar Bear are the next to go, followed by the African Elephant.. There are so many petitions out there to sigh and get your word out..There are Rally’s coming up all over the world in Feb..Just google petitions cecil rally’s cecil act..sign them all…..

Share a Comment

The HSUS encourages open discussion, and we invite you to share your opinion on our issues. By participating on this page, you are agreeing to our commenting policy.
Please enter your name and email address below before commenting. Your email address will not be published.