Cecil the lion – A symbol of an endangered species that was brutally hunted and killed
Cecil the lion was a male alpha leader of a large pack and primarily lived in the Hwange National Park in Matabeleland in Zimbabwe. The lion was a world famous animal and was tagged to be tracked and research by the Oxford university.
The lion was known for his big black coloured mane and he was the centre of attraction for every tourist who visited the Hwange National Park in Matabeleland, Zimbabwe for the past 10 years. Many of the tourists described him as powerful, large and regal all at the same time.
But recently, he was killed by a hunting enthusiast, who illegally lured the animal out of the national park and shot him with an arrow. Then he was shot by a gun, skinned and beheaded for a trophy. Here is the story of an animal that endeared the whole world to him, thanks to his nature.
1 Cecil the lion
Cecil the lion lived his whole life in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland area. He was born somewhere in 2002 and was part of one the biggest fights between prides in the park. The fight resulted in the death of Cecil’s brother and lead to Cecil creating his own pride of close to 22 members.
Sometime later, another male named Jericho was seen with him and the pride rose to 22 in number. Cecil was also known for his affinity towards humans. He would let humans come as close as 10 meters near to him. Brent Staple Kemp, a researcher said that Cecil’s affinity towards human made it easy for the researchers to photograph him and document his movements.
2 The celebrity status and world fame
Cecil owes his name to the nature of himself. When he became so close to the humans, the tourists got wonderful opportunities to photograph a really majestic animal and observe him closely. The tourists were so endeared by him, that he was given a name, Cecil, which became his identity.
He was seen as an ambassador for his species and other animals that were in danger of being wiped out from the face of the Earth. He was the reason that the national park received so much revenue each year. People wanted to see the animal that was majestic, regal and was not afraid of humans and let them photographed him without any problem.
3 Death of Cecil
Death of Cecil is viewed as the most brutal representation of human’s feral need to hunt for game. He was killed by a US dentist Dr. Walter Palmer, who is known as a very skilled hunter with a bow and arrow. Now, in Zimbabwe, hunting is allowed with a bow and arrow in any area outside the national park with correct licenses.
Palmer and his guide Theo Bronkhorst and a local farmer Honest Ndlovu found a way to do so, despite the fact Cecil lived in the national park premises. They tied a dead animal to the back of a truck and lured Cecil out of the park area. When Cecil followed the bait out of the park, it theoretically became legal to kill him and Palmer shot him with an arrow.
The injured animal ran away in order to save himself, but Palmer stalked him for 40 hours. And he then found him and shot him dead with a rifle. The 3 person than skinned him and beheaded him. Palmer reportedly paid $50,000 for the whole experience.
4 The global outrage
When the news and images of Cecil’s hunting reached millions of people via the internet, there was a huge wave of outrage towards Dr. Palmer. Most of it was due to the sheer brutality of facts and the way Palmer got around the Zimbabwean law.
Cecil was a high profile and famous lion and often viewed as mascot of Hwange National Park. He was also a subject of Oxford University’s study on lion conservation in Zimbabwe and killing him violated all the things Cecil was a symbol of in Zimbabwe. The common argument of hunting as sport to stalk, hunt and kill animals like lions and tigers doesn’t apply here.
Palmer says that he relied on his guides to procure the license for the kill, but Zimbabwe government terms it as illegal. Bronkhorst and Ndlovu were arrested for this hunt and it was said that Ndlovu did not have any permit and the hunting on his farm is illegal and participant in the hunt are poachers. Bronkhorst claims that he didn’t knew that the lion was Cecil.
5 Protests against Dr. Palmer
People shared Palmer’s contact info and his office’s Yelp and Facebook page was filled with negative reviews. People have also turned the office of Dr. Palmer as a shrine for Cecil with people lighting candles and leaving soft toys in memory of Cecil.
Palmer has expressed a slight measure of remorse in his statement. “I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion,” he said.
There has been a petition by the Zimbabwe government to extradite Palmer to Zimbabwe in order to start criminal proceedings against him. Even the US Fish and Wildlife services are looking for him as part of their investigation.
6 Consequences for the pride
There is now also a fear that the other lion Jericho will kill the cubs in the pride in order to establish his reign and since Cecil lead 2 prides merged as one, Jericho alone will not be able to handle such a big pride and won’t be able to defend the pride in event of other lions invading it. Anyways, infanticide will take place.