Blog Words : Paul Goldstein | 04 August

Cecil's murder is the final straw: Trophy hunters need to be named and shamed

Until trophy hunters and the companies that take their money are properly penalised, this dreadful hunting charade will continue, warns safari guide and conservation expert Paul Goldstein

Almost every media outlet in the world is displaying monstrous outrage at the US dentist who shot Cecil the lion – one of the most famous animals in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park. It is both despicable and morally reprehensible, at just about every level.

However it is important not to categorise every backwater butcher in the same criteria. The argument for the hunting of un-endangered animals – plains game – which brings funds into areas that would have none is a complicated one and not aided by huge indignation frequently by chinless bunny hugging NGOs who have not done their time in the bush.

However, with predators it is unequivocal. These animals, be they lions, leopards or cheetahs are worth a definitive amount on the slab. The canned hunting companies are slick in their movement of the trophy: from the bush to the taxidermists, to the wall of the ‘hunter’ who trained his or her cross-hair on the quarry in the first place. But if these animals are kept alive, they bring in safari tourists in their thousands – which are worth much more money to the local economy.


Cecil with his pride in Hwange National Park (Shutterstock)

But these ‘hunters’ are only part of the disease. The companies who take their money lure the animals out of protected zones with seductive dead carcasses, and then it is ‘fair game’ for rifles – or in this case, a particularly odiously bow. Presumably this dentist felt his pathetic libido would be massaged more by playing Robin Hood than John Rambo.

He has since issued regret saying he did not know the situation. The fact that the poor beast took a few days to die due to the dentist’s poor aim – I presume he is better with root canal work – does not seem to have bothered him.

This corrupt pile of venal stinking pus brings hardship to all those except the hunting company and the bent wardens and no doubt politicians caught up in this insidious affair. Will the perpetrators be properly penalised? I doubt it, and until they are properly sanctioned this dreadful hunting charade will continue.

Most of the so-called ‘rehabilitation centres for lions’ in Southern Africa are nothing of the sort – they are just abattoirs getting the predators ready for the bullet, arrow or bolt from some camouflaged fat hunter. They breed the game for canned hunting – pure and simple. All over Texas and other States, as well as in Russia and Spain particularly, there are ‘brave sportsmen’ who have transformed their houses into hideous menageries of stuffed assailants.

This is clearly their drug, their pitiful libidinous narcotic that gives them a point in life. They need shaming. Know any?

Main image: Cecil the lion (Shutterstock)