Dr Walter Palmer has done something worthwhile after all.
His special combination of vanity, smugness, greed, arrogance and stupidity has taken something which happens all the time, usually out of sight and out of mind, and has elevated it to international recognition.
The slaughter of Africa’s wildlife is a crime against nature and humanity.
“In 1978, I spent a few months in East Africa investigating and tracking poachers. I was gathering information to support the listing of the African elephant as endangered.
I wrote an article in Defenders of Wildlife that got me into an argument with the editor when I predicted that within two decades the elephant population would be diminished by 30%. He accused me of being overly dramatic and cut my prediction from the story.
It turned out that I was not being dramatic enough. By 1980, the diminishment was 50% despite the fact that the African elephant was listed as endangered by the United States in 1978,” says Paul Watson from Sea Shepherd.
From a population estimated at some 25 million 500 years ago, the African elephant was reduced to ten million by 1913. By 1979, there were an estimated 1.3 million elephants.
Today, there are only a half a million remaining and the population is in serious decline with poaching now at unprecedented levels.
And Dr. Walter Palmer was intending to kill an elephant before leaving Africa after realizing the potential trouble he was in for killing Cecil.
“Looking at lions. When I first went to Africa there were 250 000 lions in the late Seventies. Today that number has been reduced to about 25 000,” added Watson.
And yet the killing goes on. Lions, rhinos, giraffe, elephants and so many other species killed by poachers illegally and legally in most cases by international hunters.
Dr. Walter Palmer claims his hunt was legal, but it was not. It could have been. He paid for it to be, but he got greedy.
He wanted a celebrity lion and lured it out of a national park and illegally shot it with an arrow in such an unprofessional manner that the lion suffered for 40 hours before being killed with a bullet from Palmer’s guide.
Hopefully Cecil will not have died in vain and that his death will represent the thousands of animals so horrifically slaughtered every year.