17 October 2015
The killing of Cecil the Lion, lured from his home in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park by American Trophy Hunter Walter Palmer in July this year, shocked and outraged people around the world.
Cecil was a popular figure within the park, head of his own pride and the subject of a research project by Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU). Although Cecil had a conspicuous radio collar around his neck, making it clear that he was not ‘wild’, Palmer shot him with a crossbow, followed the wounded and suffering lion for hours, and finally killed, decapitated and skinned him, claiming his black mane was the trophy he most wanted on his wall.
Dr Brian May’s Save Me Trust are calling for the creation of a “Cecil’s Law” in the UK – a fitting legacy for this magnificent creature who, by his death, opened millions of eyes to the disgusting ‘sport’ of trophy hunting, and ‘canned hunting’ in which wild animals are actually bred in captivity purely to be slaughtered for fun. Cecil’s Law would ban the import of animal body parts as trophies to the UK from anywhere in the world. It’s possible that the law would also begin to eliminate similar cruel activities in the UK.
A 10 minute rule bill is set to be introduced that will call on David Cameron’s government to introduce Cecil’s Law without delay.
Brian May said: “It would be wonderful if all the new determination by the public to end this senseless slaughter, inspired by Cecil’s death, were turned into action, to end such atrocities. We believe such a step would be welcomed by the vast majority of the British public – in a sense, Cecil’s legacy. Progress towards outlawing cruelty to animals is above politics. It is about dignity, decency and humanity. We call on all who care about our fellow creatures to sign the new petition to bring in Cecil’s Law”
Will Travers, President of the Born Free Foundation said:
“This story is so shocking on so many levels. Cecil was of huge value to Zimbabwe’s economy and their Wildlife Service. Now he is gone. According to information I have received, the carcass of a freshly killed animal – a ‘bait’ – was used to lure Cecil out of the protected area where he was shot with a bow and arrow. The use of a bow and arrow could imply either that the hunter wished to do this on the quiet – no gunshot – or that he was able to get up close enough to use a bow and arrow. Cecil was not afraid of people and so relatively approachable.”
Will went on to say: “Cecil was also collared and was part of a long-running Oxford University Research Project. Tragically, 24 of the 62 lions that have been tagged by the project have been shot by sport-hunters and one can only imagine the negative impact that the sport hunting of lions is having on the population of Zimbabwe.”
Comedian Ricky Gervais says: “It’s not for food. It’s not the shooting, or tin cans would do. It must just be the thrill of killing. Mental.”
MC Hammer said: “Can’t believe this man counted it as valor to lure him out of his protective home and kill him.”
Anne Brummer, CEO Save Me Trust said: “Cecil’s death was brutal and pointless. We want to stop trophy hunting by banning the import of animal body parts into the UK and encourage other countries to follow our lead. Cecil’s Law will be a lasting legacy for a magnificent lion.”
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