Saturday, August 1, 2015

What has been bugging me about the trophy hunt that led to Cecil the lion's murder

If you got past the headline, grant me a few moments to make a case.

There is a safari camp in Zimbabwe that advertises game walks in which you track rhinos. Rhinos are rare and endangered because of a history of poaching that continues to this day. The motivation for the poaching is the rhino horn. Asians believe in its medicinal properties thus fueling demand. One horn might bring as much as $300,000 (as reported by The Atlantic). So there is a tremendous motivation to hunt the rhinos no matter their status as endangered. The sadder thing is this: the rhinos one might track in that safari camp have had their horns removed to protect the rhinos from poachers.

A poacher has a financial incentive to kill a rhino for its horn. What incentive did the Minneapolis dentist have for shooting a lion? To get its head, evidently. His hired hunters baited the lion to bring it out of the Hwange park (where it was protected by law). What these guys did was illegal and they knew it. So in what way is this dentist/hunter any different from a rhino poacher? The poacher goes after a horn, the dentist went after a head (a second, as it turns out). Neither cares about the meat, neither cares about the long term viability of the species.

This is not about the legitimacy of controlled, regulated hunting. This is about a criminal act, pure and simple. The U. S. needs to honor Zimbabwe's request for extradition.

No comments:

Post a Comment