Why Cecil the Lion may not have died in Vain

Take action and ask your congressional representative to intervene with some anti-trophy legislation and the AG to extradite.

By Melanie Nathan, July 31, 2015.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 3.25.35 PMThere is probably not a single human in the U.S.A. who has yet to hear about the demise of Cecil the lion.  Cecil, a male lion who lived in the  in Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe, Africa, was a major attraction at the Hwange National Park and was being studied and tracked by Oxford University as part of a larger study.

On 1 July 2015,  Cecil  was shot and killed by Walter Palmer, an American recreational big-game hunter, who had brutally wounded the lion with an arrow, some 40 hours earlier. The internet blew up with stories and comments about the killing, drawing international media attention, and sparking outrage around the world.  Public, politicians and celebrities have called for action against Palmer, who has been forced to close his obviously lucrative dental practice, to go into hiding, as a result of  the shit storm and threats against him.

It turns out that the 2 men who Palmer had paid to be his hunting guides, have already appeared in a Zimbabwe court on charges involving the illegality of the location where the lion was injured and then killed.  Palmer, admitting to the kill,  has said that he believed that the guides knew what they were doing and that he had operated under their assurances that every aspect of the hunt and kill was in fact legal.

While it is legal for recreational hunters to pay guides, the question is whether one can be held accountable when relying on those guides and how this mistake or ignorance, if in fact such, would serve as a defense under the law.

In America we know that ignorance or mistake can be raised as a defense to criminal charges. Ignorance or mistake of the law can be a defense to a criminal charge in limited circumstances. The courts have rarely allowed the defense of ignorance of the law to succeed. However, the courts have reasoned that the defense may be viable if the act in question is not obviously wrong.  One wonders how hunting related crimes would be viewed as to some this is obviously wrong and to others its perceived as a right.

The reasoning behind this is that criminal punishment might not be appropriate in such cases unless it can be proven that the defendant intentionally disobeyed the law.  But we are talking about the law in Zimbabwe.  In Zimbabwe and South Africa, countries that sometimes look to each other for precedent as guidance, the law is similar and the nuances varied.   To my way of thinking unless there is statute that specifically states that ignorance or mistake is a defense in this case, then the burden is higher on a hunter, as we all know that many rules and regulations obviously govern hunting, especially in countries where poaching and conservation is problematic. Palmer will probably not be able to use his reliance on his paid lackeys as a defense.

So here is where the killing of Cecil may prove not to be in vain-  the question will then occur to many more people wanting to come home with these sickening debauched trophies. They may now stop and think to what extent they dare risk relying on money hungry operators in Africa – the people  paid mega dollars for this – are they trustworthy?

Palmer apparently paid the two professionals $55,000 to help coordinate the hunt and kill.   He trusted they knew what they were doing and failed to do his own due diligence to determine if every aspect of the hunt and kill was in fact legitimate.  The part where he got screwed was the locale of the kill. Had the exact same facts occurred in a different location, there may have been no illegality.

So the teeny bit of good news in this tragic story lies in the necessity to extradite Palmer to face justice under Zim law.  Perhaps then future hunters will be loathe to trust money grabbing guides. They will stop and wonder if the thrill and “prized” trophy is worth going through what Palmer has been through and will still go through.  I dont think public outrage worries these decrepit thinkers, of Palmer ilk,  as much as the idea of having to face the law – or as much as the fear of serving ten years or even mere months in an African prison as notorious as that in Zimbabwe.

This has raised critical awareness here in American people as to the insidious nature of these hunts- as this tragedy will impact not only the life of one lion, but has proved to be a conservation disaster, placing the cubs of Cecil at risk for death by a new pride leader.

From the U.S. side we are well able to impact the outcome and the potential for future tragedies. While we cannot prosecute Palmer on our soil, as no crime was committed here, we can abide our extradition treaty with Zimbabwe and we can also introduce laws in Congress to impact the incentive to these hunts. We can lobby our Congress members to introduce a law prohibiting the import of certain game trophies and skins into our country.

In conclusion NO I DO NOT CARE more about animals than I do about humans nor one cause above another:
I would like to add what I posted on my Facebook timeline, after being angered by some of the commentary that has appeared in social media. I said:

Can people please stop comparing lions to humans ….to planned parenthood… to …to..to…to..

One viral cause is a moment in time and then ….. there is another viral moment and then another…. Such is the nature of social media.

How much we care about issues and causes can only be measured by our actual actions as individuals and community…not by how we spread stuff and comment on Facebook and Twitter. The latter mere perception.

One cause need not be touted to helm the denigration of another when there is zero connection?

So please do not waste my time with comments about what I should care more or less about. Now take action and ask your congressional representative to intervene with some anti-trophy legislation and the AG to extradite.

#CecilTheLion #RIPcecil #ACTforCecil

READ MORE:

Killer of Cecil the Lion Finds Out That He Is a Target Now, of Internet Vigilantism

Mural of Cecil Lion being painted outside Palmer dental office
Mural of Cecil Lion being painted outside Palmer dental office

United States and UN to take Action

United States Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating the circumstances surrounding killing of Cecil, lion who is thought to have been lured from Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe and killed by Walter J Palmer, American dentist and hunter. MORE

Theo Bronkhorst, a hunt organizer from Zimbabwe, appeared in court on Wednesday, charged with failing to prevent an amateur American hunter from killing the well-known lion Cecil. By Reuters on Publish Date July 29, 2015.  Watch in Times Video »

Footage captured as recently as 2012 shows Cecil, the beloved lion who, Zimbabwean officials say, was lured out of a sanctuary and killed by the American hunter Walter J. Palmer. By Reuters on Publish Date July 29, 2015. Watch in Times Video »


2 thoughts on “Why Cecil the Lion may not have died in Vain

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