A message affixed to Walter Palmer’s business in the U.S.
Although it was not an incident that happened in NZ or involved someone from NZ, it is clearly a wake-up call about how despicable some people are when it comes to animals.
We were very upset a few years ago about the negligent poisoning of native birds and non-native but cute hedgehogs by our property business neighbour (see earlier posts) and we fully empathise with those who are outraged by the rich American hunter Walter Palmer who bribed guides in Zimbabwe to lure that country’s most famous lion, Cecil, outside the boundaries of a national park to kill him with a crossbow.
According to the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF), the hunt began on 6 July. ‘They went hunting at night with a spotlight and they spotted Cecil,’ said the ZCTF’s Johnny Rodrigues.
‘They tied a dead animal to their vehicle to lure Cecil out of the park and they scented an area about half a kilometre from the park.’
Rodrigues revealed that Palmer shot his bow and arrow at Cecil, but failed to kill him and that they stalked the wounded and stricken lion for 40 hours before finally shooting him dead and beheading him.
He added, according to The Independent: ‘The head – his trophy – has been impounded and confiscated as evidence for the court in Victoria Falls’.
And to add to the outrage surrounding the death of Cecil, the future of the cubs of his pride are now thought to be at risk. The cubs could be killed if the pride is taken over by another male lion.
‘The saddest part of all is that now that Cecil is dead, the next lion in the hierarchy, Jericho, will most likely kill all Cecil’s cubs,’ Rodrigues said.
It’s not the first time Palmer has been in trouble over his lust to kill important animals: he pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the precise location of where he killed a black bear in 2008. Palmer was placed on a one year probation and fined $2,939 after it was found that he was not licensed to kill the bear in that particular area.
We hope that Walter Palmer gets what he deserves: he will probably bribe a judge in Zimbabwe to let him off, but folks in the U.S. will do what they can there — details here.
Our favourite charity in NZ is the SPCA.