July 29, 2015 by kittynh
The internet has blown up over the horrible death of Cecil the lion. A Minnesota dentist admits to being the “Big Game Hunter” who paid to have a “lion kill experience”. The amount of money he was willing to pay for a KILL, was enough to tempt anyone in most of Africa to bend the rules. That amount of money will send your children to school, feed your hungry cousins, maybe help you build your business. A local hunter that does not deliver a kill, will soon go out of business.
Africa has reported on this problem, but for most of us in the USA this is the first we have heard about it. Rich Asians, Americans, Australians and Europeans fly in and basically with a wink and nudge bribe a local hunter to bend the rules. It’s a lot of money. I think if most of us were offered a few million to go get a black bear or puma for a hunt, even out of season, we’d be tempted by the amount of money offered. Especially if our family was hungry or in need. The sheer poverty of most of Africa can not be imagined by most Europeans and Americans.
This is not just about killing a lion. This is about the generational exploitation of Africa by rich foreigners. They come, they take the diamonds or gold and lions, and leave poverty and destitution behind. The rich hunters know they can just fly home, and the local will be the one paying a fine or going to jail.
As you can imagine, Africa has such a very low opinion of these hunters. These are not the government sponsored hunts where big cash means money for an animal reserve or education. This is the sleazy world where the hunter wants to pay a lot, but not as much as the state run hunts. Instead, greed and need is what the rich tourist hunter counts on. For a lot less money he can get a kill, and knows that the local he’s hired is desperate enough to make it happen.
It’s exploitation of humans. It’s disrespect for humans, because the tourist is basically buying them, and then leaving them to the consequences. He’s not going to bail out that local. He’s not going to worry about who will support that family while the father is in prison. He won’t worry there is no economy that will take care of that family, and that he with his greed and need for a kill put them in this dangerous situation.
I dont’ agree with those putting up the name of the hunter. He’s paying for his crime, but I’d like to see more.
I’d like him to do the opposite of exploiting Africa. I think he would be a better person if he went over to the area where he hunted and did volunteer time as a dentist. Community service to the very people he endangered with his actions. If he has enough money, it would be wonderful is he opened a clinic for dentistry for the poor in the area. It doesn’t cost what it costs in the US to run a dental clinic. If he helped train locals, or paid for their training, he would bring immense help to those humans he used so callously. I think giving back would feel so much better than the joy of the kill he writes about.
Africa is used to being exploited. This man exploited not just the lion, but the people. He stole part of their heritage, just because he had the money to do so. He’s not the only one. We don’t read African papers and little about Africa reaches the first world press. This mean is not the only one. He just killed a much beloved lion. The exploitation of poverty continues by rich people from first world countries.
This man could earn back the respect of others, just simply by giving back. Redemption is possible. I know some people would say “He should give money to wildlife conservation” but I would rather see him do something hands on. He has the skills of a dentist, he should put them to work.
It’s not just about the lion. It’s about how first world people with money view Africa. It’s been going on a long time, and it needs to stop.