Cecil’s Revenge

By on January 22, 2016 with 15 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

Cecil may be roaring from heaven that other lions throughout Africa, including members of his former pride, may not experience his horrible fate, thanks to a federal rule that goes into effect today. The rule stipulates that American hunters who travel to Africa to hunt down lions can no longer freely bring their trophies back home. It is expected to produce a dramatic decline in the number of lion trophies imported into the country each year – from 727 in 2014 to perhaps fewer than 20 this year. We hope it will also put the lid on the cruel canned lion hunting industry in South Africa that largely serves U.S. trophy hunters.

The federal rule, which lists African lions as threatened or endangered, has been in the works for years, but had a spotlight thrown on it when a Minnesota dentist killed Cecil last year after baiting him out of the confines of a national park. The barbaric killing generated a hue and cry among so many Americans who had been long unaware of the globe-trotting expeditions of American trophy hunters out to slay the biggest and rarest African animals. Over the past 10 years, American hunters have killed 5,552 African lions and imported their parts as trophies.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced the rule on December 21, but it takes formal effect today. Anyone wanting to import lion parts has to first get a permit from the FWS, which will only grant one if it finds that the killing enhances the survival of wild lions — a standard the agency has said will be tough to meet. FWS has also indicated that killing captive-bred lions does nothing to enhance the survival of wild lions — a move that we hope will forever end the South African canned lion hunting industry because Americans make up about 90 percent of their clientele. In 2014 alone, trophies of 367 captive lions were imported to the United States.

There has been good progress in recent years against trophy hunting of rare animals: in addition to the new lion rule, the United States has suspended elephant trophy imports from Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Last year, Australia and France banned all lion trophy imports. Forty-five major airlines have banned the transport of some or all types of hunting trophies. Hotels set to host trophy-hunting conventions and musicians scheduled to perform at these conventions have pulled out.

Yet lions and elephants are but two of the hundreds of different kinds of animals that America’s trophy hunters covet. Our research shows that between 2005 and 2014, more than 1.2 million trophies of over 1,200 different kinds of animals were imported into the United States. Trophy hunting advocacy organizations like Safari Club International (SCI) continue to  offer opportunities for their members to compete with other hunters to earn awards for killing the largest or most types of animals, and American hunters cover the globe to track down and slaughter the world’s most magnificent animals, from lions to elephants to rhinos to bears. The rarer, the better.

This week, a key U.S. Senate committee passed legislation to benefit SCI, with provisions to allow their members to import polar bear trophies into the United States and to slay hundreds of wolves in the Great Lakes region and Wyoming. The bill also contains a provision to block a final rulemaking action by FWS to stop the baiting of brown bears and the slaying of wolves on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska.

In February, at the SCI’s annual convention in Las Vegas, hundreds of hunts will be auctioned off. These include hunts of rare animals throughout the world and hunts of wild animals in fenced enclosures. The celebration of killing, and commercial gathering place for the vendors of this shadowy subculture, is SCI’s largest fundraiser, earning the group $14.7 million in 2014 – money it uses to fight animal protection measures around the world.

Last week, I wrote to the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs to urge them to make the humane and profitable decision to publicly oppose Las Vegas hosting this and future SCI conventions. It’s time everywhere to raise the decibel level and to close out the era of trophy hunting of the world’s most magnificent creatures.

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

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  1. Doris says:

    Hunters rejoice in the thrill of killing. Hunters are legal serial killers.

  2. Chris says:

    Who is on this committee that is allowing polar bear and wolf hunting and trophies? Please name them all so they can answer for their decisions!

  3. Patricia Alonso says:

    The killing of animal to stop !!!

  4. Howard Burtwell says:

    Kudos! Well done! Good people in this world who take action will make this a better world! God bless.

  5. Peter Hood says:

    I wonder if there is an effort underway, to determine where Cecil’s head ended up? Regardless of its notoriety, stolen artwork ends up somewhere, and I expect someone would want this “trophy” in the same way…

    • Pamela J. Semies says:

      This nation was broken-hearted when we heard the devestating news of Cecil’s demise.This killing of Cecil was a pre-meditated act. Determined to get Cecil they had to bait him from his protected area. This is against the law.The expert Dr. Palmer used a high end bow to shoot Cecil..but he missed. It took 40 hours to find Cecil before he was shot by Dr, Palmer afterwitch the lion was beheaded which would be used for a trophy, then he was skined leaving behind the Lion’s pride. Cecil was a famous lion who was photogaphed often by tourist. This world would be a better place if Cecil would have eaten Dr. Palmer. It would have been poetic justice! What pleasure can that man get out of killing one of God’s most majestic animals. I hope that many of his patients are animal advocates and will be turned off by Dr. Palmer.No good should come to him ever again for what he did. He
      had no right to take Cecil, a protected and most love Lion.

    • KKStar says:

      Walter Palmer left Cecil’s head and skin with the ‘professional hunter’ to be cured and made into his trophy. It was supposedly taken from the PH by the police when he was arrested for his part in the illegal slaughter of Cecil. The park where Cecil and his family lived expressed an interest in getting Cecil’s parts, so a memorial could be made and placed inside a protective glass memorial monument at their entrance, but I have not read that it happened or know anything more about his head and skin. It’s all so sad . . . Serial killers usually take a memento when they kill someone, whether it be hair or jewelry or clothing. It is very likely Walter Palmer took a memento from Cecil when he was beheaded and skinned. Considering he is a dentist, it’s possible the rumors and accusations are correct, and he took one or more of Cecil’s teeth to carry home and fondle in his pocket, to relive his blood-lusting adventure. After all of this, anything is possible.

  6. margie anne says:

    We have indeed seen some great progress in the fight to stop the senseless slaughter of animals.

    The Bipartisan Sportsman Act, with its amendments– delisting the endangered wolf, and protections in wildlife refuges- must be stopped.

    Humane Society is my ‘go to’ place for updates on wildlife issues.

    Keep up the good fight.

  7. Nancy Zimerowski says:

    This appears to be wonderful news for the African lion population. It will be interesting to see in a year how many lion trophies are actually imported and how much of an effect this new USFWS ruling will have on the canned lion hunting industry. My fear is the fate of the remaining 6000-8000 lions in these canned hunting facilities.
    HSUS published a very revealing report on Safari Club International and its award programs. The report was very disturbing. Perhaps if the general public was more aware of SCI, there would be more pressure applies to once and for all eliminate the brutal practice of trophy hunting.

  8. Louise Gray says:

    Just found out another Ranger in Africa was killed in the Line of Duty, protecting Wildlife. There have been over 166 Rangers killed in the Elite Anti Poaching Uni in the past ten years!!
    He leaves a family behind and his Ranger group will rely on Donations for his family.
    The Elite Anti Poaching Unit

    Thank you for this excellent article and for being a Warrior!

    (And sorry you were questioned so heavily by that Congressman and others wrongly attacking you!)

  9. Joanne McLaurin says:

    Does this work to stop the canned hunting that goes on in our country? They are killing lions and elephants and other animals that are “hand raised in Texas, only to be released in a fenced area to be killed by the “hunters” for trophies. We need to stop them here first, before going any where else.

  10. Jeannie Lucas says:

    This kind of hunting should be banned – what is wrong with people who just want to kill beautiful animals. In my opinion, they are psychopathic and this activity should be made illegal as soon as possible.

  11. victor Manei says:

    Due to cecils death we the sons and daughters of africa are stilli the mighty mourn as the members of his pride including kichwa.
    AL\ll we need is cecill death to create an impact forall the endangered species in the mighy african wilds.

  12. Kimberly Webb says:

    Thank you Wayne for sharing this information. I had not heard this elsewhere. Magnificent development! A most heartfelt “Thank you” for all the work you do! 🙂

  13. Carol Keith says:

    I also would love to see the listing of those who feel that polar bears and wolves should continue to be hunted.Those animals have it bad enough just trying to exist,w/o a troop of slobbering psychos following them to their doom.Thank you for your help,but God knows we have a long way to go.

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