A Minnesota dentist’s killing of the famous lion has sparked outrage, but it remains to be seen whether it will spur a crackdown on big game hunting.
The public outcry following his hunt of Zimbabwe’s famous tourist attraction, Cecil the Lion, has not only led to the closure of his dental office but could be a galvanizing force in altering the trophy hunting industry in the United States that’s fueling wildlife loss in Africa, according to conservationists.
Killing rare animals is nothing new for the dentist, who has crossbow records for killing a menagerie’s worth of wildlife, including rhino, warthogs, buffalo, and more. But none of his kills brought a spotlight on the contentious issue of trophy hunting until he and his hired Zimbabwean hunters lured the black-maned Cecil out from the protection of national park boundaries with bait.
The heavily studied lion – he had a GPS collar on when he was shot—wandered wounded for 40 hours before finally being tracked down and shot with a gun by the hunters. Americans traveling to Africa make up more than 60 percent of the foreign-participated lion trophy hunts carried out each year.
And breaking – The brother of slain Cecil the lion, named Jericho, was killed Saturday in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, a senior park official told CNN. Jericho was gunned down by a hunter operating illegally, said Johnny Rodrigues, head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force.