You know things are nearing their most grim when Betty White publicly yearns to administer mayhem to some hapless Minnesota dentist with underdeveloped archery skills. And you thought slutty Golden Girl Blanche Devereaux had issues.
That said, some relevant facts are called for at this critical juncture in human-wildlife interfaces.
First, as a hunter who has been on several safaris, I am a conservationist who believes in interacting with nature as a predator while also being potential prey at the same time. Some folks love nature and prefer to never interact within the natural food chain. That is fine with me. But I must ask: how many of all those going nuts and demanding the execution of the accused give money to conservation? How many can tell you anything about the environment there? If shown photos of 10 species of animals that live there, how many could they identify?
Second, don’t think lions that spend most of their time within the boundaries of national parks are tame. They are not. Walk up to one and see what happens, and have your GoPro® video camera ready. It will kill and eat you, on the spot. It is not a pet. It is a wild predator that happened to be sporting a GPS collar.
Third, if this guy did in fact shoot this lion while it was wearing a collar, as reports indicate, and if he saw that collar, he is a jerk. But was the collar covered by the lion’s noted shaggy mane? That needs to be known. Was it a frontal approach so that he could not see the collar? We do not know yet.
Fourth, the PH (professional hunter) was likely, but not absolutely, aware of this black-maned trophy being “Cecil” (a name given by humans suffering from anthropomorphism). Black-maned lions of this quality are more and more rare these days due to disease, poaching and habitat deprivation. I find it quite hard to believe the PH was totally ignorant of this lion’s fame and usual range. Very hard, in fact. I have been to Hwange and have seen this lion. He was known.
Fifth, guess where the meat and other body parts go? To locals who make their living, their only living, making items from the animal’s skin for tourists to buy, and that money helps feed the families that depend on safari hunters. Yes, the meat goes to them, too; precious protein for the extremely poor (many live in huts with no electricity or running water).
Sixth, quotas are very limited on lions, hence the trophy fee a hunter must pay that goes on top of all the other safari costs. A safari company employs many locals who have families. All that money goes into the local economy, which especially in Zimbabwe is crucial to families’ survival.
Seventh, the PH and safari company are likely all done now. That company may very well be finished, including the safari staff members, which adds up to a lot of folks.
Eighth, the PH is very likely going to a Zim prison. Ever seen one? I have. Really. Your worst nightmare, believe me. He is a dead man. Dead.
Ninth, a poacher of the same name (is it the same guy?) was convicted in Wisconsin of poaching a black bear, which cost the reprobate $3,000 and a year’s probation. If this is the same guy, then poaching is a trend with him. He will pay dearly and already is; his practice is closed and he is royally screwed, possibly of his own doing, at least partially. Again, we need facts, not screaming online from the other side of the planet.
Tenth, several tens of thousands of black kids were aborted last year by Planned Parenthood alone. Why do we hear no lamentations from the screamers about that? Why is a lion more valuable than a human? Why are they OK with selling human body parts for profit but go full apoplectic when someone whacks a pretty lion?
Eleventh, Zimbabwe is run by a vicious racist dictator named Robert Mugabe. Why no screams from those protesting the killing of this lion about Mugabe? Oh, I see.
Twelfth, how many Americans could even point to Zimbabwe on a map if boundaries were shown but no countries named? Hmmm.
So those involved in this likely crime are going to pay and pay big; they already are, in fact.
By the way, the African lion (Panthera leo) is not an endangered species, as many believe.
And finally, how many of the lion screamers sent donations to the grieving family of 7-year-old Elton Silundu last year when a lion left Hwange National Park and traveled three kilometers to the village of Dete, whereupon it killed little Elton and ate his brain?
Don’t you hate it when facts are presented?
Bob Newman is a retired Marine and the author of numerous books, magazine articles, and newspaper columns. A past contributing editor for Soldier of Fortune, he has been a frequent guest analyst and commentator on Fox News Channel. Bob makes his home wherever he drops his pack.