from This is NOT Cecil or his pride.

from This is NOT Cecil or his pride.

The world is outraged by the “taking” of Cecil the Lion in Africa. Ok, at least a very large number of people are angry, even many hunters are outraged. As always there are those who think that this practise and what happened to Cecil is not a problem. At least for now, they appear to be in the minority, or maybe too afraid to be vocal.

Because he was a protected animal and they knowingly (*edit: at least some knew) baited him out of the park, I feel comfortable calling this more than a killing – it was murder. There was no need or purpose for the death except for excitement and ego. That’s it. Period. Not for food, not for survival, not for protection – just for “fun”. For a good adrenaline rush and a good story. Well he’s got both now. Just as a side note, the hunters seemed quite happy to forget the fact when you take a male like Cecil you are likely killing others. You are disrupting a pride, possibly causing the death of cubs, which in this case is likely. Final kill count unknown at this point.

The story has been simmering in my brain since it broke. Certainly not a “rise like air” feeling, at least not yet. Somehow out of catastrophe some good has to come somewhere. I have been patiently waiting and watching for it.  Maybe the flame is beginning to flicker.

It started when I read an interesting piece this morning by Neil McDonald (CBC). McDonald reflected on how the tables have seemingly turned for Walter Palmer.

He’s become a trophy. An exotic one, at that. He’s joined the great circle of life.

And the people stalking him are enjoying themselves every bit as much as he clearly did when he was out there being Walter Palmer, apex predator, killing wild things all over the world, and posing with them on trophy hunting sites.

Unfortunately for Palmer, his latest conquest was Cecil, a famous lion beloved by tourists in southern Africa.

He was also foolish enough, it seems, to pose with Cecil’s corpse, and now the internet, the most apex of all apex predators, is stalking him. – Neil McDonald (CBC)

It is interesting to observe the trophy hunter becoming the hunted (online). Karma maybe? A taste of the confusion and fear that Cecil and his other kills must have felt. Sometimes we can only learn by walking in another’s shoes, or in this case, paws.

While I don’t know if this can ever be turned into a positive, Jimmy Kimmel fanned the flickering flame when he called Palmer’s actions “vomitous” (exactly) and then made the wonderful suggestion that helping, the Oxford University Wildlife Conservation Research Unit that was following Cecil’s movements in their study, is a least a start. RIP Cecil and all the others before and after you who are prized only as trophies and not as the majestic living creatures you are.

In the meantime, Walter Palmer is probably focused on one thing – survival, running in fear, not sure which way to turn. Uncertain and wondering why his life which was so “simple and perfect” one minute is now an exercise in simply trying to stay ahead of the hunters. Cecil evaded his hunters for 40 hours injured and in pain, fear and anger likely coursing through him as he grew weaker. Ok, so maybe I’m giving him human traits, but I’ve seen a cornered injured animal and that’s exactly what they look like. Walter Palmer is fortunate that he is running with only his pride damaged. Cecil was not so fortunate.

I am not against hunting but I am against taking only trophies, unclean kills and sanitizing what someone’s actions really are.

I’m not out for revenge. I’m out for a change of attitude. I hope Palmer decides to turn in his weapons for a camera and turn to true conservation rather than devastation. The choice, as always, is his and his alone.

I hope those that are hunting him online take a moment temper their hatred and instead turn it to good. When we choose to change ourselves for good we change the world too. The ripple will become a wave.

©2015 JFries/Rise Like Air

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