Our response to the killing of Cecil the lion

29 July 2015

It has been reported that an American dentist paid US$50,000 to shoot Cecil the lion, a national treasure in Zimbabwe, earlier this month.

An American dentist paid US$50,000 to shoot Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe earlier this month. Cecil, who was 13 years old, was a major tourist attraction at Zimbabwe’s famous Hwange National Park. Along with being a national treasure like so many animals, Cecil was also being studied by researchers at Oxford University.

Our International Director of Programmes Steve McIvor has said:

“Not one penny is worth the life of Cecil, a national treasure like so many animals.

“The cruelty behind this act is disturbing – not only was Cecil cruelly shot with a bow and arrow but found alive 40 hours later, to be then shot cold blooded by a gun.

“The rearing and killing of lions in the name of ‘entertainment’ must end. Animals belong in the wild and should not prop up this sordid industry.”

Legal action

It has been stated that a professional hunter and a farm owner tied a dead animal to a car to lure Cecil out of a national park in the middle of the night, and then shot him with a crossbow. Cecil was found wounded 40 hours later, where he was then shot dead with a gun.

Despite hunting lions being legal in several countries in southern Africa, including Zimbabwe, groups must obtain a valid permit from authorities – which makes this killing illegal. The farm owner and hunter now both face legal action for poaching.

Shining a light on the issue

The cruelty behind this act is disturbing: lions are being bred for the tourist entertainment industry on a daily basis. There are as many as 7,000 lions in breeding facilities in South Africa today, not only for hunting, but for cub petting and walking in lion parks.

The story of Cecil is heart-breaking, but not a one-off. What this tragedy has done is shine a light on the cruel use of animals in entertainment.

Wildlife is a lucrative business, with animals such as lions being torn from their mothers at just a few weeks old. They are kept in small enclosures with no shade from the heat, fed a poor diet, and are abused until they become compliant enough for photo opportunities or lion walks with tourists. They may then be sold into untracked trade chains that can end in the canned hunting industry.

We oppose animal cruelty in any form and we strongly believe the rearing and killing of lions in the name of ‘entertainment’ must end.

Take action 

We move the world to protect wild animals, and to keep them in the wild where they belong. Find out more about our work to end the abuse of animals in entertainment.

Image: iStock. by Getty Images

“The rearing and killing of lions in the name of ‘entertainment’ must end. Animals belong in the wild and should not prop up this sordid industry.”
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