I doubt there is a single person reading this post that hasn’t heard about the unlawful killing of Cecil the lion.
As we await the outcome of the trial of the hunters, here are 10 things that you should know about the majestic king.
- Cecil was 13 years old and Zimbabwe’s most famous lion – even being compared to Africa’s Lassie.
- Although Cecil was situated in the protected area of Hwange National Park, Walter Palmer, along with guide Theo Bronkhorst and farm owner Honest Ndlovu, attached a dead animal to their vehicle to lure Cecil out of the perimeter of the park during their hunt in the middle of the night.
- US dentist Walter Palmer paid £35,000 to shoot the lion with a crossbow, including an extra fee to behead and skin him.
- Once the arrow was in Cecil’s body, he was left to bleed for 40 hours before eventually being shot.
- Palmer has said he regretted shooting the animal, but has previous felonies of hunting, including lying to authorities about where he had previously killed a black bear in Wisconsin, meaning he was on probation at the time of the lion hunt.
- While trophy hunting is actually legal in Zimbabwe, the killing of Cecil was illegal as he was a protected lion as part of Zimbabwe’s National Park, and Ndlovu did not have permission to hunt a lion on his farm.
- The price of killing a lion can largely vary depending on the lion. Within a hierarchy of male lions, the darker their mane, the more respected and powerful the lion is seen to be – these factors implicate the price paid, as a male lion as stunningly beautiful and powerful as Cecil is identified by his distinctive black mane, making him the dominant male of his pride and a more expensive kill.
- Now that Cecil has gone, it is likely that other male lions will try to kill his cubs to become the new dominant male. Cecil had an estimated 24 cubs.
- Bronkhorst and Palmer claimed that before killing Cecil, they had not noticed his collar, (which was there because Cecil had been part of a research project by Oxford University since 1999) and proceeded to try to hide it in a nearby tree.
- If found guilty, Bronkhorst and Ndlovu could face up to 15 years in prison.
- Palmer had planned on shooting an elephant after killing Cecil, reportedly asking his guide to locate an elephant whose tusks weighed more than 63 pounds.
Cecil’s tragic and unjustified end has travelled the globe from Zimbabwe to England to America and far beyond. Whilst this awful occurrence has set the world into mourning, we must try to take positives from it too.
Palmer, you have deprived a pride of their king, you have quite literally shot a hole into the face of Africa, and you have left cubs without a father. But, you have educated thousands of people across the globe about what trophy hunters do, you have made authorities around the world reconsider the laws on trophy hunting, and you have set the world alight on fighting for justice for these majestic creatures.
You can sign the petition to extradite Palmer here: