American Public Roars After It Gets a Glimpse of International Trophy Hunting of Lions
Cecil the lion is dead because Walter Palmer the dentist is a morally deadened human being.
The man traveled clear across the world – from the suburbs of Minneapolis into the pay-to-slay world of Zimbabwe, where dictator Robert Mugabe sells off hunting rights and other natural resources to the highest bidders – for the chance to kill the king of beasts. In this case, the victim was a lion who has been widely photographed and somewhat habituated to a non-threatening human presence in Hwange National Park. The hunt was a “guaranteed kill” arrangement, where Palmer paid about $50,000 to hire professional guides to help him complete the task. The local guides knew exactly what they were doing. In the dark of night, they lure a famed, black-maned lion from an otherwise protected area, with a dead carcass as bait. Palmer then stuck Cecil with an arrow.
Even though he’s used that weapon to kill countless other rare animals all over the globe – from leopards to black bears to Argali sheep – Palmer didn’t deliver a killing shot. He wounded the animal, and because he did it at night, I bet he didn’t have the courage to track the animal at that time. So he waited, while the lion tried to live minute to minute and hour to hour after receiving the stab wound from the arrow. At some point, Walter and the professional guides resumed the chase. It took them nearly two days to find him, and then they apparently shot him with a firearm. The killers then removed a radio collar nestled around his neck – because Cecil was also the object of a study by Oxford researchers. Some reports say they tried to disable the signal from the collar, unsuccessfully. The team took the customary pictures of the westerner guy standing atop a beautiful, muscled animal, and then they decapitated and skinned him, as keepsakes for Palmer’s global crossing in order to conduct a pointless killing.
The lion is one of Safari Club International’s Africa Big Five, along with elephants, rhinos, leopards, and Cape buffalo, and the idea of killing each of them motivates thousands of wealthy people to do it. It’s one of more than 30 hunting achievement and “inner circle” awards you can get if you become a member of Safari Club – including Cats of the World, Bears of the World, and Antlered Game of North America. If you win all of the awards, and there are plenty people who do, you have to shoot more than 320 different species and subspecies of large animals. In the process, you spend millions of dollars, in addition to spilling an awful lot of blood and spreading a lot of death.
Partly because of the dramatic decline in lion populations, and also to stop heartless and selfish people like Palmer from meting out so much pain and suffering, The HSUS and HSI filed a petition four years ago to protect lions under the terms of the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Last October, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to its credit, proposed a rule to list the lions as threatened.
The United States is the world’s largest importer of African lion parts as hunting trophies and for commercial purposes. Between 1999 and 2013, the United States imported about 5,763 wild-source lions just for hunting trophy purposes; and the last five years of this period averages to 378 wild-source lions per year. Worse, this number has increased in recent years. That’s a lot of Walter Palmers doing ugly things.
The Oxford University study Cecil was part of was looking into the impact of sports hunting on lions living in the safari area surrounding the national park. The research found that 34 of 62 tagged lions died during the study period. Of these, 24 were shot by sport hunters.
When we think of Bengal or Siberian tigers, we think of big cats nearing extinction. We should think the same way about lions, since their populations have been plummeting. They are in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future.
For most of us, when we learn they are in crisis, we want to help — to protect them from harm, because we empathize with their plight.
But for one subculture in the U.S., when wildlife are rare, that means they want to rush in and kill them precisely because they can do something that few others can. It’s like the rush of trophy hunters to Canada to shoot polar bears when the United States announced it planned to list them. “Let me shoot a polar bear before they are all gone!” They want to distinguish themselves from others who live in the world of competitive hunting.
Sadly, Cecil’s story is not unique – American hunters kill hundreds of African lions each year and are contributing to the steady decline of the species. Today we sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which recently took steps to protect chimpanzees and African elephants, urging the agency to make final its regulation to upgrade the legal status of lions, to restrict people from trekking to Africa and bringing back their parts for no good reason. Not for food. For vanity. For ego gratification. And because they are morally deadened.
Ask the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to protect African lions from extinction »
Editor’s note: This version has updated numbers on wild-source lions trophy-hunted each year.
We need to do something about this individual as well as the group like his
who engage in “sport” hunting simply for the trophy. It is obvious that his
masculinity is questionable here or he would not feel the need for this
“blood sport”. He has already “settled” a case involving sexual discrimination
in his office. So now he goes after animals just to prove he is “macho”.
We need to support all efforts to stop such brutal and senseless killing
of our animals.
Rebecca, you said it EXACTLY how I feel! RIGHT ON!!
Agree completely. Only very sick individuals enjoy killing. I have no respect for trophy hunters (or any hunting, trapping, etc). The selfishness, complete disrespect and disregard for the lives of these magnificent beings exhibited by trophy hunting is unforgivable. Wayne Pacelle has expressed it so precisely and clearly here.
pienamente d’accordo,, aggiungo: NOI RAZZA UMANA DOVREMMO SPARIRE AL PIU’ PRESTO
what we can do is mind our own business, like the scriptures say to do. God gave rulership over the animals to man. Get a life would be a better way to relieve stress than heap burdens upon this dentist. Good for him, excercizing his liberty to hunt a lion on our earth if he feels like it.
Yeah lets blame it on god!
“David”: You advise us to “get a life”? How about “Give a life”? As in, don’t travel across the world killing animals for fun. Spare them, and take photos instead. Anything wrong with that? You mention God, but do you really honestly believe God would have meant for humans to go around needlessly murdering His beautiful creations? Do you really think that’s why He made them? Frankly, I don’t believe in a God, but if there is one, I rather doubt He would be happy with so-called trophy hunters killing off our innocent cousins just for their sick pleasure.
Jesus courageously stood up for what he believed in. Isn’t it only right that the rest of us do the same, and not just “mind our own business”? It was because too many people minded their own business that the holocaust occured, and the same goes for Jesus’ crucifixion.
If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
I LOVE your reply. Be courageous. Many blessings :)))!
Good reply, god created life so we can enjoy and love the many beautiful things in this world. To destroy life is not Gods work, its pure evil.
What first hand experience do you have with hunting?
Thank you Wayne as always you are very professional about your post. So upsetting to loose such a beautiful animal such as Cecil. I along with thousands of others are now concerned about his Cubs and if Jericho will kill them.
I was watching CNN yesterday and they not only posted pictures of Sidney, but also pictures of other magnificent creatures this “man” had killed. I saw what appeared to be a leopard, a huge caribou, elk, and bighorn ram. I had to look away as it made me ill. Studies have proven that as animals are trophy hunted, the size of a bighorn sheep’s horns as well as a deer or elk’s antlers decreases. Hunters pick the biggest and most robust males to kill, and so therefore, are removing these hardy animals from the gene pool It has to be stopped!
Sadly Diana, Jericho was killed illegally, just like his brother. So very awful.
Wayne, I am not moved by many celebrities or athletes. But, I am so grateful that animals and advocates have you out there…staying on top of legislature, trying to keep up momentum for the animals, and showcasing the good, bad, and ugly related stories.
I know I will never be ‘a fraction of a fraction’ as useful as you are to our beloved cause. But you inspire me, and many others. You are truly the embodiment of a very overused word: “Awesome.”
So sorry humans can do something like this……..poor lion and poor his sons….that no have no future…….
PLEASE……all human think…….and plase do stop doing things like this……so meaningless death…….so much life and future that ……all of a suddent don´t work
I´m in grief……..so ashamed of our population……..
Well said. I agree completely. Devastating.
Well said. I agree completely. Devastating.
Me, also. If one can’t submit to the life of endangered species, think of the eco system. I’m not a tree hugger or belong to PETA..He hurt us all by his killings. Something is wrong with him. Really wrong. I pray he is punished to the fullest. And…the people who guided him on this killing should be punished, also.
Well said, Minna. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation, and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” The rampant murder of elephants, rhinos, wolves, factory farming–mankind has gone completely mad! It is time for responsible, conscious people to step up and demand compassion and kindness to all sentient beings. Those who are ego driven and cruel need to be penalized and stopped.
This cash for death behavior has to stop.
Totally in agreement.
If the funds that fuel the conservation of these great animals stops, who will pay to stop the poachers? And we all know that hunters are not poachers… If you aim to stop hunting, you help the poachers.
This is happening all the time! Trophy hunters kill collared lions ruthlessly every other day. The hole practice needs to STOP.
There is a very troubling subculture of American society that includes trigger-happy, blood lusting individuals killing their own people, let alone decimating wildlife. A study should be conducted on this moral and ego dysfunction as these people are in fact serial killers. The only difference is the judicial definition of the word. This is typical of the serial killer psyche, collecting trophies and getting a thrill out of the kill. This is a great subject for doctoral thesis
This is exactly the thought which went through my mind as well when I heard about this. I totally agree with you, Soula.
Schießen,bitte nur mit der Kamera!
Karin, I will translate for you:
“Please, shoot only with a camera!”
Wise words. Danke!
An animals parts should hold no more value the giving the direct sustenance of life. It should not be valued through money.
This needs to stop now before we lose all our wonderful animals.
I sincerely hope that this man will be extradited to Africa and stand trial. Let’s NOT give him special protection because he’s American. After all, ignorance of the law is no excuse.
Um, did you read the part that said it was legal and that he had help from an African organization?! They don’t care out there.
‘Moronic’ is all I can say in response that comment I’m afraid
Brian we care deeply about our heritage and our wildlife. Sadly we have corrupt leaders in Africa. We are fighting a war against poaching. Our rhinos are slaughtered and our wildlife exploited by the likes of wealthy American hunters. Communities here are poor and are vulnerable. So your statement is unfounded.
Communities are poor because all they do is reproduce and have no way to take care of their children. So YES they are to blame for all of this.
Wow, Stacey, that is one of the most entitled, arrogant responses I’ve seen yet. Why don’t you take the red, white, and blue off your eyes and realize that not everyone has the same situation as Americans do. That said, Zimbabwe has one of the best family planning programs on the continent. Do some research before making such a claim. Poaching lies solely in the hands of the people doing it.
Africa’s a poor country so they couldn’t careless about their about their own people
much less the lives of animals if the cared about the animals they would stop these people from selling rights to kill them
the only way to stop them would be to out smart them
unless we can gather millions to help buy out the contracts
but that wont help.
as that encourages the sellers to keep producing the licence to kill
The killing of African lions and many of the continent’s other unique species has been doing a brisk business for decades, but Cecil’s pointless death has sparked a response of sudden urgency and awareness that may finally bring some changes to the gruesome trade.
Hopefully Cecil will not have died in vain, and pathetic people like Walter Palmer will finally be forced to curb their bloodlust.
P.S. Speaking of that, someone commented that people who enjoy killing over and over must be disturbed, and I agree. I wonder if psychologists have classified this craving as a mental illness, and if so, why are there organizations (like the Safari Club) that encourage such behavior? And why is no one talking about it? It seems a valid point that should be discussed.
Exactly David Bernazani!
Excellent, excellent, stellar post Wayne. Keep up this great work and never, ever, ever stop.
‘Mary…’ Kudos, on your comment, and to Wayne for his reporting and diligence.
How about a trade ban on all exotic animals/parts which are threatened or endangered per the US endangered species lists. You can pay to kill all you want, but you can’t bring them back to the United States. Also, any new trophies that are found should be recovered by authorities and donated to museums or other research/education-oriented institutions for use in science, so the animals won’t have died totally in vain. Burden of proof would lie with the hunters to prove when and where they killed the animal and how it got back to the US; if illegally, then they should be charged with smuggling illicit goods.
Photos are better than heads.
Please finalize lions’ endangered status.
I wonder what possesses these men to take such pleasure in the killing of these beautiful creatures? It can hardly be called “hunting” as it is so close to murder. It is all so senseless and has to be stopped. I hope all of the people of Minneapolis area boycott his practice to send a message to him and many other of these “fearless hunters” that they all need to seek serious psychological counseling.
It bothers me that any animal is hunted for trophy, But to do it so viciously and inhumanely is so heartbreaking, An animal that kills a person, does it for food or survival, not joy. They say animals don’t have emotions, I find that to be false, A lioness that searches for cubs, An Elephant that cries for its baby, A dog that misses it’s owners, is that not emotion. A house cat that knows it is sick, and goes to the darkest place of the house to die, knowing it is dying, The heartbreaking is Cecil was shot with an arrow, left to wander knowing he was dying. These so called men, hunters knew BEFORE the killed Cecil he was protected by the land he was on, and the collar he was wearing and trying to dismantle it. Cecil and other animals need justice, protection.
Come election time(s) please everyone pay attention to those you vote for as several of the politicians are big into hunting what they want however they can get it. Humans must learn to respect ALL lives. Always keep speaking up and out against cruelty. Our many voices CAN make a difference. Thank you.
Morally corrupt and degenerate behavior. I think of the tenets “to cause no harm to sentient beings”. Sadly, the government of Zimbabwe among others sanctions the killing for profit of magnificent and rare animals. I am sickened.
I agree this vile character
should be ashamed of himself!
A term in prison would be a good for him!
Maybe someone would replicate what he has done to the magnificent Cecil !
We need to start with the govt that allows these trophy hunts to take place. With the extinction of these soon to be no more creatures of beauty, these individuals/agencies/officials need to be prosecuted to the fullest.
Once that is set, then we begin prosecuting to the fullest those that hunt. Their passports revoked, fingerprints taken, pictures publicized
What can we do to save Cecil’s cubs! Make Palmer pay to have the cubs moved to safety!
Cecil has captured so many hearts – yet thousands of American horses are taken from their open land or beloved homes and sent to slaughter in Canada and Mexico. What about those horses who mean so much to us whether we are involved with them or not? If the public is up in arms over Cecil, how would they react to the senseless brutality and murder of our Equine companions?
You’re absolutely right, and “farmed” animals are raised inhumanely, transported inhumanely, and slaughtered brutally, as are the horses. However, maybe one good thing will come from Cecil’s death, and that is the way in which human beings treat all animals, from trophy hunting, to “sport” hunting, to entertainment, to the abandoned and unwanted animals. What happened to this magnificent lion has captured the attention of people around the world and may lead to more awareness and further conversations for the rest of the creatures we share this earth with. I hope that for Cecil and for the others who still have no voice and no name.
So heartless im not
sure what people get out of killing these beautiful animals I hope their is justice for these beautiful lion and all gods creatures
“If you win all of the [Safari Club International] awards, and there are plenty people who do, you have to shoot more than 320 different species and subspecies of large animals.”
And yet with all the outrage about Palmer, we allow the Safari Club, which ultimately encourages all of its members to be just like Palmer, to exist. In a civilized world, this type of barbarism is simply appalling. Palmer is the whipping boy of the day, but is really emblematic of a subculture of men and women numbering in the hundreds of thousands at least.
I would revise it to say: morally deadened INHUMAN being. There is nothing whatsoever human in killing an animal the way he killed it, nor in killing an animal which will almost assuredly go extinct by the time our great-great-grandchildren are born, if not sooner. This reprehensible killing made me physically ill. When I look at the photograph of the boastful killer all full of himself for this heinous act, I see what’s wrong with the world at large. We are destroying everything that makes Earth a beautiful planet. Humanity is sick. We’ve just plain lost it.
Thank you Wayne and HSUS for all you do! I think that the Cecil incident is maybe a turning point and I was hoping that Wayne could maybe go on some talk shows to expose the disgusting sport of trophy hunting. I think the more people that know about it the more the pressure could be kept up to just make it completely socially unacceptable. Really most of these situations are very much like shooting tame zoo animals for blood sport anyway, clearly immoral.
the only way to beat them would be to trick them
It amazes me that a guy with a high-powered gun against an animal thinks he has achieved some level of manhood or conquest. That is a COWARDLY act. Let’s end trophy hunting NOW!!!
I also think we should swap their bullets with blanks
it would scare the lion off
plus make them look stupid
Here’s a constructive idea: Hire Dr Walter Palmer as an anti-cruelty spokesman for HSUS? The new Michael Vick!
I believe articles such as this one are so important.. Creative interesting pictures would take a whole lot more effort than the senseless killing of this poor animal. Collecting dead heads needs to be seen for the stupidity it is.
We have not forgotten the 27 elephant calves Mugabe’s minions just wild captured and exported, recently selling these babies to Chinese zoos. Corrupt Zim Minister of Interior Kasukuwere, sold these sentient beings as if they were high-priced forest products. Elephant DaZe did our best to prevent this (and will aim to halt future) wild capture and exports…from Hwange and elsewhere.
I’m curious as to whether he has a spouse, kids, grandkids, siblings, and if his parents are alive. I’m sure they’d be SO proud of him. Jimmy Kimmel had some great things to say on his program about Mr. LowLife as I’m sure many others did.
I have heard it said that the most dangerous predator on earth is a human without a conscience. Palmar, his associates and all the others like them fall in that category.
He should be ashamed of his cowardly actions but one needs a conscience for that !
Dear Wayne: Is it possible to have you list information as to who we should contact to support the extradition of Walter Palmer to Zimbabwe to face charges in that country?
If it were done in the same way as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services petition on this page I think it could do some good. Thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely, Kevin Mueller
Hi, I am the editor of A Humane Nation. Some comments have been removed because they were off-topic. Please read the commenting policy carefully before posting a comment. Thanks.
I can not understand the thrill of trophy hunting, but I can very well image the type of abusive personality that these folks must posses. Human insecurity can act like a disease in the brain with horrific results.
I also can not understand how it is that those who call for justice would then go on to advocate inhumane and cruel actions towards another being.
If we want to make the world a better place, then we must rely on our intelligence. Advocating for further violence, even in jest, absolutely undermines our very important message.
I am a very masculine tough acting ‘manly’ man, macho if you have it that way. I just do not see the point in hanging a stuffed dead animal head in his office. If i am going to kill an animal, it is because I am going to eat it. Which means, deer, cow, bison, pig, etc. You do not eat lions, and their fur, skin, or other body parts have no market value (nor should any other animal’s for that matter) so there is absolutely no reason to shoot one and chop it’s head off. I would be more impressed with a great photograph of the lion in a nice frame hanging in his office.
The only thing “encouraging” about all of this is that so many people care enough to condemn it and shame this pathetic “human” being who did this. Maybe mankind does have a heart, which I do wonder about sometimes. Cecil’s death will leave a legacy behind him that love and kindness will win out over ego and cruelty.
With the lions, those hunts are wrong because lions are endangered & they are not food. They should outlaw sports hunting. Hunting for food & eating your kills is 1 thing, but hunting for sports is wrong.What’s sad is that these nations profit from the sports hunting, because tourists pay thousands of dollars to hunt endangered species. Have other thoughts & hope you can share your view.
If people want to hunt deer, pheasant, ducks, hares or rabbits for food, then as long as they are swiftly killed, then I have no problem. I know hunters who agree with me and they oppose poaching & believe in the idea of eating their kills. Nature as known can be cruel. Though PETA would differ, I would rather see a hunter quickly shoot and kill a quail, duck, deer or rabbit and eat their kill vs. a python killing a rabbit. Yes, the python is doing what is nature, but nature can be cruel.
Though I do not listen to country music, singer Miranda Leigh Lambert in addition to the good work she does to protect dogs with Pedigree dog food also hunts & fishes for food. Miranda Leigh Lambert proves that it is consistent to support animal welfare & @ the same time have no problem with food hunting as long as the animal is humanely and swiftly killed. Miranda Leigh Lambert is a huntress who proves that there are people who support animal welfare who have no problem with food hunting as long as animal is swiftly killed and no poaching.
I have a friend who has hunted deer, ducks & muskrat and she told me that she did this for food. She has same views as country singer Miranda Leigh Lambert has on dogs and she has done humane work with dogs.
Another eg. would be radio host Rush Limbaugh (Rush Hudson Limbaugh) who did announcements for U.S. Humane Society in 2009. Though I don’t know if Rush hunts, he supports people’s right to hunt for food. Rush in 2009 did announcements for U.S. Humane Society where he speaks against dog fighting, animal abuse & he talked of his cat & how he loved his cat and so on. Should the U.S. Humane Society have not used Rush? Should Pedigree Dog Food & U.S. Humane Society take announcements from people on animal topics like country singer Miranda (Miranda Leigh Lambert) and Rush because 1 has hunted?
Other thoughts, in North America, they hunt bobcats, cougars, wolves, foxes & coyotes. Now yes, you can have excess bobcats, cougars, wolves, foxes & coyotes attacking pets & livestock. Yes, you can have diseases such as parvo. If they can avoid hunting them & put them in zoos, then that would be better. But they must not allow trophy hunting of bobcats, cougars, woves, foxes & coyotes. If they are to be hunted, then it must be done by wildlife officials to cull diseases & not private hunters. But before they are, then there should be biological statements which show that culling is only choice & there should be public input. They should do what they can to avoid hunting bobcats, cougars, wolves, foxes & coyotes because these animals aren’t food & we don’t need fur coats anymore to stay warm.
Have other thoughts to add to my post. Fact that this dentist hunted an African lion is wrong just on that fact. They must make it a crime to hunt lions. Trophy hunting is wrong. & there are hunters who are against what this dentist did.
& this dentist’s with the money he spent on this hunt is supporting Zimbabwe’s dictator Robert Gabriel Mugabe, who has said that he wants Whites to leave Zimbabwe though the Whites were born there, yet has no problem taking money from Whites in these hunts. I’m not White, but I’d hope Whites wouldn’t travel to Zimbabwe to help an anti-White dictator such as R.G. Mugabe (most people in Zimbabwe are fine), who got his 2008 honorary knighthood removed because he became a dictator.
What this dentist did is wrong because lions are endangered animals & not food. There is no excuse for what this dentist did as it’s cowardly. What’s sad is that these nations profit from the sports hunting, because tourists pay thousands of dollars to hunt endangered species. Must also say that being against animal cruelty & supporting animal welfare (not to PETA extreme) is shared by people such as Rush H. Limbaugh & Patrick J. Buchanan.
Other things about hunting which happens in Africa as I understand. With giraffes, they are eaten in Africa though I don’t know why. Impalas, gnus & warthogs are also sometimes eaten. There has been controversy over tourists traveling to Africa to hunt impalas, gnus, warthogs & elephants. In 2012, there was controversy in Spain after then King Juan Carlos hunted an elephant in Botswana, spending alot of money on that hunt. Now while the hunt was legal & the elephant meat was given to the natives, they must not allow this hunt, though it’s food hunting.
If African natives want to hunt giraffes, gnus & warthogs for food, then let them do it w/o tourists paying alot of money because it’s mainly about money. While it’s legal, there is no need for people to travel to Africa to hunt gazelles, gnus, impalas, giraffes or other animals though the animals are killed for feeding the local natives in Africa. Let the African natives hunt the gazelles, gnus, impalas, etc. for their food as they have guns, know marksmanship on how to quickly kill the animals they hunt for food & it is not expensive to learn this. There is no need for tourists to spend alot of money to hunt their food, but happens because again, it’s about money. Reply if you have thoughts to my added comments.
I am sick sick sick to see so many Americans takiing pleasure in teaching their children to kill endangered animals. It is no wonder that America is in such a bad way as they seem to have no respect for life of any kind. In the future when there are no beautiful creatures to admire and the world is a dustbowl – what will their grandchildren have left. The saddest thing is that they do NOT believe in God. They probably pretend to believe by going to church on Sundays and baking cakes for charity but they do not believe what the bible says “God notices the fall of even the smallest Sparrow.” God did not create all these wonderful creatures just to give these evil people a fun day out.