[content_protector password=”running”]It’s been a long time since I cried reading something in the news. But a few days ago, I felt myself welling up over the killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe.

I don’t know which particular part of the article made me cry – perhaps it was the photos of Cecil nuzzling up to a lioness, or him with his cubs. Maybe it was the photo of the dentist who shot him standing next to his body, Cecil looking like he was just asleep. Or it could be reading about how Cecil was lured off the game reserve and onto private land where he could be shot without any fear of being caught.

The whole thing is a terrible and upsetting business.

Of course, the media and people all over the world are quick to point the finger of blame at the hunter-dentist who pulled the trigger. Yes, people who go off to hunt endangered species so they can have photos of themselves standing over the animals, or so their heads can be mounted on a wall, do need to take a good hard look at themselves. People who hunt and kill for ‘fun’ and not for food are committing disgusting crimes.

These animals – lion, giraffe, rhino, tiger, hippopotamus – are rare, and becoming rarer each year.

It’s not all the dentist’s fault. Sure, he pulled the trigger, but he paid vast amounts of money to guides in the game reserve in order to help him kill Cecil. Zimbabwe attracts many hunters every year to shoot its animals. Maybe it, along with other countries in the world, needs to control who comes into hunt, and rethink its policy on wildlife conservation. You can’t protect these magnificent animals by shooting them!

No, the real problem is human greed. And money.

Advertising, media, films, tv and books all tell us the same two messages: One, humans are the most important species on the planet. Two, if you have the money, you can take what you want. When the two messages get intertwined, that’s when problems starts. Like with the rich American hunter-dentist.

They’re two messages that make me feel ill. And they’re the two messages which killed Cecil.


[colored_box color=”green”]This is an opinion-based article designed to provoke debate, discussion and further inquiry amongst your students:  [/colored_box]  [colored_box color=”yellow”]Critical Thinking Challenges:

1. Is there anything that money can’t buy?

2. Who is to blame for the killing of Cecil the lion?

3. Animals kill each other all the time. What’s the problem with a hunter getting there first?

[/colored_box] [colored_box color=”green”]Practical Task:

1. What could be done to prevent poaching and illegal hunting of Africa’s animals? Have a look at the work of the WWF or other wildlife charities. How are they encouraging countries to take a tougher stand on hunting?

2. The American hunter-dentist paid nearly $75,000 to kill Cecil. What else could he have done with the money that would have given him a similar – though less deadly – thrill?

[/colored_box] [colored_box color=”red”]Have Your Say: [socialpoll id=”[socialpoll id=”2286194″] [/colored_box]


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