If you have enough money, you can kill anything
If you have enough money, you can kill anything – cheetahs, rhinoceros, even a beloved, thirteen-year-old lion, named Cecil. On July 1, Cecil was lured out of Hwange National Park, a protected territory in Zimbabwe, by a vehicle, dragging a dead animal as bait. When he got within range of Cecil, the ill-famed hunter had his local guides shine spotlights into Cecil’s eyes in order to confuse the lion and to keep him from reacting defensively to their proximity by charging or fleeing. With the lights in his eyes, even if he had felt fear and confusion urging him to run, Cecil was an immobile target, easy pickings. The disreputable hunter then shot the defenseless treasure with a crossbow. With the silence of a crossbow, there would be no sound of gunshots to alert the local patrols about the danger that Cecil faced.
The wounded lion then bolted. The three-member hunting party stayed in pursuit of Cecil for the next forty hours. The second time he had the opportunity to kill Cecil, the shameful hunter had a loaded gun. The wounded Cecil was finally killed by the hunter’s bullet. Then, the guides finished the work for which they had been hired and already had been handsomely paid the vast sum of $55,000. They beheaded and skinned Cecil. Then, they awarded the despicable hunter his trophies.
The hunter writes that he had not known this was “a local favorite”. Cecil was the most famous lion in Zimbabwe. He had an usual, thick black mane that could be clearly seen from a distance, marking the majestic animal as unique. So, it is not believable that the three men did not recognize the distinctive Cecil.
Cecil had a tracking collar and had been monitored by Oxford University for years by scientists, studying the habits and reasons for extinction of the African lion. The three-man hunting party tried to dismantle and to destroy Cecil’s tracking collar.
The hunter also writes that he thought the hunt was legal. If the hunter had simply looked at his own GPS, he would have known that his hunting party was located in a prohibited area.
Global floodlight on trophy killing
That spotlight blinding Cecil in order to gain this hunter’s, unfair advantage has now become a global floodlight on trophy hunting, a prosperous commerce with about one thousand organizations worldwide.
“Zimbabwe makes an estimated $20 million a year on trophy hunting, which represents 3.2 percent of its tourism revenue. The vast majority of trophy hunters are foreigners. About 25-30 percent of African trophies go to Europe and 65 percent to the United States.”
Hunting Legends in Pennsylvania runs safaris in South Africa. Its website has a price list: “An elephant kill costs $60,000 plus daily rates. A male lion in its prime kill costs $35,000.”
“‘Our clients come to us and they tell us what kind of adventure they want to have, and if we can accommodate them, we will,” George Hinton of Hunting Legends says. “It’s all done legally. We have professional hunters, trackers, skinners, games people. I mean, we employ a lot of people. This industry is huge.'”
A pride’s commanding roar
Have you ever heard a lion roar? It’s an awe-inspiring sound, a captivating mandate for complete attention . A lion’s deep roar is so commanding that a single lion’s bellow can raise a large cloud of dust. That booming thunder can be heard as far as 5 miles away.
Did you know that sometimes a whole pride roars together? That chorus of hollers, rumbles, and bellows reverberates across a wide expanse, telegraphing the pride’s presence.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agT7tLm7_wY (Listen to a one minute video of a pride of 22 lions in Tanzania roaring together.)
Lions Among Us
Let’s send a message to our US senators, like the magnificent, rising sound of a pride of lions. These splendid lions make all sorts of sounds to communicate their positions to other prides. We too can convey our message with these very sounds. They snarl. We too can snarl on social media, calling out our righteous outrage because of Cecil’s illegal, trophy killing. Lions hiss. We can hiss to our friends and family about how unfair the laws are in protecting treasured animals. Lions cough. We can cough up some candid stories about what’s happening worldwide to destroy native habitat and resident animals. Lions woof. We can woof how it breaks our hearts to know that nothing is being done to stop the wide-reaching, needless killing and suffering of animals.
Join the international “lion’s pride roar” of fury over the trophy killing of Cecil. Call your US senators in support of a recently introduced bill, Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large (CECIL) Animal Trophies Act. This bill aims to make it illegal for hunters to bring back body parts of any species proposed or listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act 1973.
http://www.menendez.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/CECIL%20Animal%20Trophies%20Act.pdf (Read the bill here.)
Find your two US senators’ contact information here.
If you are in Ohio, your US senators are:
Sherrod Brown (D) Washington (202) 224-2315 Cincinnati: (513) 684-1021
Cleveland: (216) 522-7272 Columbus: (614) 469-2083 Lorain: (440) 242-4100
Rob Portman (R) Washington (202) 224-3353 Cincinnati: (513) 684-3265
Columbus: (614) 469-6774 Cleveland: (216) 522-7095 Toledo: (419) 259-3895
You might respectfully say, “Good morning, Senator Brown. This is __(your name) __ from __(your city) – in Ohio. I am calling to urge you to both cosponsor and to vote yes on a recently introduced bill, sponsored by Senator Bob Menendez, Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large (CECIL) Animal Trophies Act. This important bill intends to make it illegal for hunters to bring back body parts of any species proposed or listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act 1973. – Senator Menendez proposes this bill in response to the senseless, illegal, trophy killing of Cecil, the lion in Zimbabwe on July 1. I appreciate your consideration in this important matter.”
So, where do you stand? Will you raise your mighty voice with other voices across the world in a deep, prolonged blast for legislation aimed at halting, senseless, trophy killing?