“… hunting was never really the main problem.” ~ Richard Conniff for The New York Times
(Photo: Craig Taylor/Panthera)
by Richard Conniff/The New York Times
THE killing of Zimbabwe’s celebrated Cecil the Lion by a Minnesota dentist, on July 1 of last year unleashed a storm of moral fulmination against trophy hunting. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals issued an official statement calling for the hunter, Walter J. Palmer, to be hanged, and an odd bedfellow, Newt Gingrich, tweeted that Dr. Palmer and the entire team involved in the killing of Cecil should go to jail. The television personality Sharon Osbourne thought merely losing “his home, his practice and his money” would do, adding, “He has already lost his soul.”
More than one million people signed a petition demanding “justice for Cecil,” and three major American airlines announced that they would no longer transport hunting trophies. A few months later, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service listed lions from West and Central…
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Agreed, but editorials by white journalists recognizing the disconnect will do little to help the decline in African wildlife either. If the various African people and their governments do not have the will to conserve their wildlife heritage, there is nothing the rest of the global conservation movement can do.
Well stated Thomas. I agree 100%. I think the point was that the social media tirade against hunting illustrated a fundamental misunderstanding of the dynamics of real conservation.
Social media is the best tool to obliterate any potential for a rationale debate. Trophy hunting is likely not the primary cause of decline, nor will it be the primary conservation success. The farther most people get away from a physical relationship with the natural world, actually experiencing wild landscapes and the realities faced by species, populations, and individual animals in their instinctive drive to survive and reproduce, the more they will equate hunting with the gun violence that social media confronts them with every day.