|American dentist Walter Palmer (left) posing with Cecil the lion.|
A 13-year-old lion named Cecil was recently shot and killed after he ventured beyond the boundaries of Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park. Conservationists alleged that an American dentist named Walter Palmer was responsible for the lion's demise. They further added that he had paid $50,000 to hunt and kill Cecil with a bow and arrow. The incident took place on July 6, with a professional hunting group reportedly attracting the lion outside Hwange National Park by using a dead animal for a bait. According to chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, Johnny Rodrigues, Mr. Palmer first shot Cecil with a bow and arrow but did not kill him. He and the group tracked the helpless lion down and killed him with a gun upon finding him after forty hours. A native of Minnesota, Mr. Palmer has several photos posted on a website titled "Trophy Hunt America" in which he is shown posing with Cape buffaloes, lions, rhinos, warthogs, and other dead animals. A spokesperson for Mr. Palmer told the Telegraph that he was responsible for killing Cecil. He further added that Mr. Palmer had the appropriate legal permits and appointed several professional guides. However, one of the guides named Theo Bronkhorst, who led Mr. Palmer to Cecil, has reportedly been suspended forever from the Zimbabwe Professional Hunters and Guides Association for the way the hunt was conducted. The demise of Cecil not only means that the African lion population is affected, but could also lead to the demise of cubs sired by him. That is, with Cecil gone, another male lion named Jericho will most probably kill his cubs so that he can insert his own bloodline into the females to start a pride of his own.
|A dark-maned lion and lioness.|
There has never been any news more appalling, yet tragic than this. Cecil was a popular attraction in Hwange National Park, who was regularly visited by both tourists and park rangers for photo opportunities. One old-time visitor and former park guide who had vivid memories of Cecil is Bryan Orford, who said that Cecil had the tendency of lounging in the middle of the road and walking in front of vehicles. He even shared how he would wait for Cecil to get off the road while driving down the railway line road. What Mr. Palmer did not only affected the global lion population, but also the tourism industry of Zimbabwe. By luring Cecil out of Hwange National Park, he somehow made an example that national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and other protected areas cannot always offer protection to animals. Most animal deaths in the vicinity of protected areas occur when poachers allegedly enter such areas to conduct their illegal activities, but what Mr. Palmer did was extremely conniving. This man should be brought to justice and be given either a life sentence or the death penalty in order to make an example of what happens to anybody involved in the illegal, yet ruthless killing of endangered species and put the fear of God in such people.
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