I have been wanting to write something about Cecil for days, but just didn’t have the heart to do it. It seemed as if writing about his death would make it all the more real to me, and yet now the outrage over his death is everywhere. The most amazing thing is that Facebook and other forms of social networking were the first to share this horrible news with all of us. By the time the major networks started covering the story, the whole world seemed to have already come together, crying out about the senseless act of trophy hunting.
I was first exposed to this atrocity years ago when my husband worked for a bank in a small town in Missouri. The owner of the bank went on an expensive safari every year where he always managed to come home with several big game animals, their entire bodies ready to display in his little hometown bank. The thrill of killing the most beautiful, biggest and rarest seemed to be the most important thing in his life. Eventually his bank was too small for all his trophies, so he built a big expensive home to display his growing display of once proud and regal living creatures. What a delightful holiday party setting this was each year, with all of his employees and spouses mingling throughout the herd of death that lived in his gigantic party room.
I always wondered what was missing in his life, why he needed to kill living animals that peacefully lived among other exotic animals in a far away country that desperately needed funding for the people that lived there. Why not take pictures or videos of these graceful living beings, to show how they sauntered by or ran blissfully or just enjoyed the sunshine on their backs with absolutely no threat of being murdered. How could someone like that bank owner or the dentist, Walter Palmer, be willing to pay $50,000 to kill a trophy animal but not be willing to help the people of that nation where Cecil spent his peaceful life? Did they even consider looking into what the lives of the people of Zimbabwe are like? Where they just too caught up with their ego-driven lives that needed to kill something to feel whole? To feel like a “real” man?
During the last few days, how many of us have thought about the conditions of the people that live where Cecil did? There are over 10 million people that live there with most of the good farm land owned by former European white colonists, while black African’s cultivate poorer, overcrowded land. Most of the population do not have tap water, their health system is horrible, diseases run rampant, rural areas rarely have access to a trained nurse or doctor, medicines are impossible to get and women have even a bigger struggle, even in the cities. There is extreme discrimination and sexist practices against women throughout the country, with only a small group of women allowed to work and become teachers. 75% of their population follow Christianity or Islam while some still practice traditional African religious practices. Only the whites and the wealthiest blacks of Zimbabwe lead the kind of lives we all take for granted each day. The owners of this $750 million a year trophy hunting industry defend themselves by talking about the jobs they generate. Only a small percentage goes to the 70,000 employees out of the entire 10 million population. Most of the money is kept by the wealthy owners of these businesses.
Donald Trump’s two sons recently killed several big game animals including an elephant, a leopard, cape buffalo bull, a crocodile and many other animals. They were so proud of their “kill” that they posed with the most disgusting grins, while they propped their guns and hats on the bull’s horns and one of them held onto the elephant’s tail they had lopped off. It is known that the guides do all the work for what is traditionally a wealthy white man’s sport. The hunters drink cocktails in their jeep, the guides lure the animals close like they did with Cecil, and these egotistical, bored-out-of-their-minds rich guys take aim, fire and kill these animals, thinking absolutely nothing about what they just did. Cecil survived and wandered around for 40 hours before they found him and finished murdering him. Our current leader in the polls, Donald Trump just stated that he is very proud that his sons love hunting….really? Did he happen to look at the photos of the dangling bloody elephant tail? When are we American’s going to wake up and question the morality of a man like Donald Trump who among many other vile things, supports his son’s right to cut off an elephant’s tail and wave it proudly to the media? The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree afterall.
I support the right to hunt for what it is supposed to be for. I commend a hunter if he hunts with dignity and gives that animal a fighting chance by using a bow and arrow, not some fancy gun that kills that animal from a long distance. Get close enough to look into it’s eyes and see if you really can pull the trigger. If a hunter needs the food for his family, and won’t just display the trophy mount, by all means, keep hunting. And for the conservationists out there, if hunting is needed to help control the over population of certain animals in our world, do it with dignity and make it swift and painless. Don’t let it drag around for 40 hours in pain and suffering like Cecil had to do.
These wealthy trophy hunters need to stop bragging to their friends about their amazing “kill’s” and start helping people in need of help. If Trump son’s and other wealthy hunters donated a fraction of these huge “ego trip” funds to the many missions around the world, they could slowly help raise the standard of living from poverty, by building water treatment systems, roads, hospitals, churches and providing education and training to the young boys and girls of a country. Just in Zimbabwe, there are hundreds of missions that all struggle to help this poor country.
I am asking each one of you to use social media to spread this story, write passionate stories of your own and share the message to stop trophy hunts. Let’s ask Walter Palmer, Donald and Eric Trump, and all of the other thousands of wealthy hunters to set aside their ego and need to kill, and start helping people who are starving, in need of water, health care and education. Let’s honor Cecil’s life by stoping the killing while increasing contributions to our missions around the world.
Rest in Peace Beloved Cecil. We are all honored to have learned about you and how you lived you life, not just how you died on earth.