Animal cruelty: Cecil’s story is similar to our houbara bustards


Animal abuse is everywhere – in circuses, zoos, races, and laboratories, with stray animals, and even livestock. Intentional cruelty can run the gamut from knowingly depriving an animal of food, water, shelter, socialization, or veterinary care to maliciously hunting, maiming, mutilating, or killing an animal.

Animals are innocent living things; they react, attack when they feel unsafe and because they cannot speak for themselves, it’s our duty to speak for them when we witness or suspect unacceptable behavior.

Those who abuse animals reveal themselves as something less than human. Most people with an ounce of decency in them understand this; what is needed is for the local government to set harsh penalties for those who would cause these animals needless suffering.

Cecil the lion’s killing is taking over the internet. People are talking about the wildlife conservation and big-game hunting globally. The story of Cecil’s killing is very disturbing and before making any decision, it is important to know why this story has become a controversy.

There is a ‘free roam’ zone in Hwange National Park under Zimbabwean law that does not allow hunting inside the park and considers it illegal.

A dentist from Minnesota, Walter James Palmer, a trophy-winning archer went to Zimbabwe this July and found a way around this Zimbabwean law. Two locals are charged for assisting Cecil’s killing according to Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority. One of them is a local farmer and the other is a hunter.

Since as per the law it was not allowed to kill Cecil ‘inside’ the park, the three men strapped an animal carcass to their car outside Hwange to draw Cecil out. When Cecil left the park, it was no longer ‘illegal’ to kill Cecil as he was not ‘inside’ the park anymore.

Palmer did exactly the same, but the way he killed Cecil is way too disturbing and heart-wrenching. He shot Cecil with a crossbow but the arrow only wounded Cecil.

Cecil had a GPS collar that allowed UK-based Oxford University researchers to track his movements for a research project.

Palmer stalked Cecil for a good 40 hours and shot him again with a rifle that actually killed Cecil. Then three men skinned his corpse and cut his head off.

It only costed $50,000 to Palmer for this whole experience.

The other two men are arrested on poaching charges but Palmer is yet to be arrested.

Cecil has been a major tourist attraction at Hwange National Park for the last 13 years. He was one of the most beautiful animals in the park to look, always minding his own business, most beloved lion and being the best-known in Africa.

Cecil was actually ‘baited’ out and it was a tactic that the hunters used, just to justify their action as legal. Killing an animals is not sporty. By reading the story of Cecil and the daily updates about the hunters, all of us only feel disgusted.

Right now, the issue is not about Cecil only. Around the world, elephants, polar bears, giraffes and leopards are being hunted for ‘sport’. In fact, in Pakistan, our very own houbara bustards get hunted every year for sport. We are living in a world where everyone talks about saving endangered species but none are willing to take a step to protect them.

It is said that Palmer is ‘upset’ for whatever he did because his intention was not to kill Cecil but some other lion and that he got the wrong lion. His statement makes him even more selfish as he was killing ‘another creature’ too.

Killing animals for fun is an inexplicable act but trophy hunting should especially be banned worldwide as it is something bigger than actual hunting – it is akin to cold-blooded murder.