Sitting on the train coming back from London after an interview on a TV programme called “This Morning”, I wrote down a number of issues about Cecil I need to address.
There are just too many to cope with and for you to take the time to read the lengthy post each issue deserves.
So I’ll just mention a few “bullet points” ….
1. Theo Bronkhorst, the “professional hunter” assisting the dentist in luring Cecil out of the nationally protected area has now stated in court that his trial is just “frivolous”. In legalese, that means that it is "wasting the court's time". Perhaps he just meant that HIS trial was frivolous because illegal lion killings in Zimbabwe have long been accepted practice?
2. Some more airlines have “come on board”. Great, but there are so many alternative routes. Federal Express and UPS operate huge planes flying cargo (not passengers) out of Africa on a daily basis. They will carry your trophy. Also, there are shipping lines. One hunter who regularly visits Africa (from the Middle East) takes so many trophies on a trip he just puts them in a shipping container.
3. Aaron Nielsen, lion hunter “extraordinaire”, just “bagged” personal lion number 15. Clearly he is on a mission. Asked to comment on Cecil Aaron basically said – “I’ll do what I want, just try and stop me”. I should not tell Aaron that the record of numbers of lions killed in a lifetime stands at about 400 – by a man in Botswana who undertook regular cattle “drives” from the north of the country to the abattoir in Lobatse in the south.
4. Cecil’s backlash continues – articles again are saying we should not continue to pay so much attention to one lion. What about all the migrants drowning in the Mediterranean? What about all those people killed and displaced in Syria? What about all those terrorist attacks recently in Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen?
5. Oxford University, the windfall recipient of public largesse from Cecil’s death, is now revealed by at least three of the major newspapers in the UK – the Times, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail – of long having received funding from pro-hunting bodies like the Panthera Foundation and the Dallas Safari Club. Oxford says it has conducted research impartially while not mentioning that Cecil is only one of about a score of radiocollared Hwange lions shot by trophy hunters over the years. One of those hunters was Aaron Nielsen.
6. The UK Government recently announced it would spend £5 million to fight the illegal wildlife trade. This was on the books long before Cecil, but the UK Government also mentioned in their press release that the money was to be spent on rhinos, elephants and tigers.
Stay tuned, another Cecil factor update will come soon.