Delta Airlines, United Airlines and American Airlines announced in early August 2015 that they will no longer transport trophies of exotic animals such as buffalo, elephants, leopards, lions and rhinos worldwide as freight.
In addition, in early August 2015 some U. S. Senators drafted a bill called the “Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large (CECIL) Animal Trophies Act” to toughen import restrictions on hunting trophies.
Furthermore, global discussions about the ethics of big game hunting and the possible ban of bow hunting, lion baiting, and hunting from hunting blinds arose in July and August 2015.
Finally, on July 30, 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to fortify efforts to combat illegal wildlife poaching and trafficking.
The recent impetus for all these measures was the July 2015 death of Cecil, a beloved 13-year-old African lion in Zimbabwe that was also collared and tracked for research by Oxford University. Cecil was killed by a Minnesota dentist named Walter Palmer, who paid $55,000 to have Cecil lured from a national park, and then shot Cecil with an arrow, trailed Cecil for 40 hours, shot the much-loved lion to death with a gun, skinned and beheaded Cecil, and hid his tracking collar.
Widely disseminated pictures of the dentist show his pride in bagging Cecil, though Cecil’s death hardly seems sporting to me. Doctor, arm yourself with a mere knife, confront Cecil’s brother alone, on foot, on his own turf, and the survivor wins. Now, that’s sporting.
Cecil’s death and its circumstances caused such a worldwide furor that Dr. Palmer reportedly shuttered his practice and went into hiding for a time. Zimbabwe’s authorities intend to extradite Dr. Palmer for prosecution and two other men associated with Cecil’s death are already being prosecuted for the alleged illegal killing.
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