The King is Dead, Long Live the King

I think we can all agree that there are several aspects of the killing of Cecil the lion that are shameful. However, since it cannot be undone I have to wonder if there is any good that can come of it. If I can set aside any judgmental thinking I have about a certain dentist or the system that allowed him to do such a thing, I believe that there are some good things that have or will come out of this tragic event.

  1. It brings world-wide attention to the fate of endangered animals. Most of us go through our daily lives without giving a thought to lions or any other animals that human activity have put at risk. Every once in a while something happens that makes everyone sit up and take notice.
  2. Once upon a time trophy hunting of big dangerous animals was a socially approved activity. In fact, often the big game hunters were looked up to. Those days are over. The world-wide uproar over this event sends a clear message that it is no longer socially acceptable.
  3. If the dentist can avoid going to jail, I am guessing he will think twice before engaging in this kind of activity. Furthermore, others of his kind will similarly be deterred. I am not naïve enough to think that all big game trophy hunting will end. But it is crippled by this event and the controversy it triggered.
  4. In a larger sense, it brings attention to the issues of endangered species and how we humans must learn to live with nature. We are born of this world and must learn to live in harmony with it.

I feel compelled at this time to state that I am a hunter. In my life I have hunted many kinds of small game and white-tail deer. I no longer hunt small game, but I do continue to hunt deer. There are a lot of deer where I live and they take a significant portion of my crops. Additionally, they damage small trees that I have planted by eating their leaves and twigs, as well as scraping the bark off with their antlers. So, I hunt deer to control their population, as well as provide food. I like venison. I see this as a much different thing than going to Africa to kill an animal that has had no effect on my life. In my case I am trying to live in harmony with my immediate environment. Hunting deer is part of that effort.

In conclusion, it is not my place to pass judgment on this dentist. A court somewhere will do that. What I can and should do is look at my own life to see if I am interacting with nature in a respectful way. I encourage everyone to do the same.

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