Target: Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe
Goal: Stop issuing hunting permits for big game animals.
In a recent incident, an American tourist hunted and killed Cecil the lion, a beloved figure of the Hwange National Park. The event drew intense media scrutiny, but what many people don’t realize is that occurrences such as this happen all too frequently in Zimbabwe. Hunting endangered animals for sport is a common practice, and countless animals less famous than Cecil have been killed by rich tourists. This grotesque practice has gone on long enough, and it is time for the government of Zimbabwe to stop issuing hunting permits for all big-game animals, whether they are famous or not.
Even though hunting permits can be extremely expensive (the man who killed Cecil, Walter Palmer, paid approximately $55,000 for his chance to hunt the well-known lion), big game animals such as elephants, buffalo, and leopards still find themselves hounded and pursued on a regular basis. These animals already face a dwindling food supply and reduced habitat, the last thing they need is to try to escape hunters.
Public sentiment is strongly opposed to the notion of trophy hunting. A recent ForceChange petition calling for Palmer’s extradition to Zimbabwe to face justice garnered over 43,000 signatures, and several other petitions and movements have circulated the internet calling for similar action.
In regards to the incident involving Cecil, the Zibabwe government released a statement saying “Both the professional hunter and land owner had no permit or quota to justify the offtake of the lion and therefore are liable for the illegal hunt.” While it is commendable that the government seeks to hold the perpetrators accountable, it does not address the key issue: trophy hunting of all sorts, illegal or legal, is detrimental to the ecosystem. The world’s most iconic animals should be cherished and protected, not killed for pleasure.
Big game animals such as elephants, buffalo, and leopards constantly find themselves hounded and pursued on a regular basis. These animals already face a dwindling food supply and reduced habitat, and the last thing they need is to try to escape poachers.
As seen in the incident involving Cecil the lion, public sentiment is strongly opposed to the notion of trophy hunting. The grotesque practice is detrimental to our world’s ecosystem and with population numbers dwindling, we need to protect and cherish our iconic species, not hunt them for pleasure. I urge you to immediately stop issuing hunting permits of any kind, so that your country and others like it can protect the valuable creatures that rely on you for shelter and safety.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Robur.q