Friday, August 14, 2015

ABC 20-20 "Hunter and Hunted": the tragedy of the charismatic lion Cecil

Friday evening ABC 20-20 aired “Hunter and Hunted”, an account of the killing of Cecil the Lion by a hunting party in Zimbabwe hired in part by Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer. 

The animal was baited by an elephant carcass, and he wandered out of the protected reserve at night, where he was shot by an arrow and badly wounded.  The party found and killed the animal about 36 hours later. 
ABC also includes the account of the killing of a black bear in Wisconsin by Palmer, complete story here
The documentary reviewed some rural people, who indicate a completely different cultural attitude toward hunting wildlife than city people, who are sympathetic to intelligent wildlife that seems “human”. We should say that about dolphins and orcas, and remember that people used whale oil for lamp fuel in the 19th Century. ("In the Heart of the Sea", a new movie, will remind us.) 

Despite the arrest warrant from Zimbabwe and popular pressure to extradite Palmer (which lawyers say is probably not likely to happen), many in the country are surprised at the reaction in the US. 
One could argue that the killing of older animals past reproduction age doesn’t hurt the breed.  But killing strong lions does weaken the gene pool.
The documentary also covered the situation with Cecil’s brother, Jericho.


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