Calling it a hunt would be like calling those fish in the proverbial barrel dangerous animals who had to be shotgunned in self defense.
This week we learned a Minnesota dentist with past problems reading the terms of his hunting license engaged a Zimbabwean hunting guide to help lure a beloved 13-year-old lion named Cecil off the unprotected parklands where the lion reigned supreme and shot him with an arrow.
We can only imagine that dentist Walter Palmer felt the thrill of the hunt for the 40 hours hunters tracked the wounded animal, eventually administered a coup de grace by gunshot, and then proceeded to skin and decapitate Cecil – we would guess so that his head could be added to others in that den in Minnesota – before dumping the remains outside his former home in Hwange National Park.
The “hunters” also allegedly tried to destroy the GPS collar that Cecil was wearing at the time he was “taken,” the tracking device part of a research effort on Hwange lions backed by Oxford University.
To be fair, we’ve done our share of hunting and shooting, and our ancestors certainly kept their larders supplied with venison. But to kill an animal simply to be able to add it’s head to our trophy wall is such an unfathomable concept for us our head began to hurt as soon as we began to consider it.
With people like Palmer roaming the globe in search of trophies – and apparently willing to pay the price of an SUV to get one – it’s little wonder why we keep hearing about the world-wide decline of these magnificent animals. They have enough to fear from indigenous poachers armed with wire snares and AK-47s – throw a marauding Minnesotan with a compound bow and money to burn into the mix and the future looks grim indeed.
Palmer, it appears, is paying beyond the $55,000 he shelled out to “take” Cecil – hunter’s argot for “kill.” Along with a pending poaching charge and worldwide condemnation, the father of two has also seen his business targeted, taking down his practices’ Facebook page faster than he renews his hunting license each year.
Animal rights activists, Zimbabweans, schoolchildren, late-night talk show hosts and just about everyone else with the mental capacity to understand that far too many among us are still willing and able to wipe out a species for some unspecified, unfathomable buzz are voicing their displeasure with Walter Palmer.
For a time at least, perhaps as least as long as it took Cecil to bleed out and finally succumb to his pursuers, Palmer will get a taste of what it is like to be hunted.
We’re hoping he’ll learn something from the experience.