Lori begins this show honoring the iconic Lion, Cecil, who was killed in 2015. Some of our younger listeners may not remember this tragic event, but its reporting broke through to the popular press and social media, raising awareness about the horrors of sport hunting and trophy hunting.
Cecil was a large, black-maned male Lion who lived in the protected area of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. Cecil was beloved by the locals and studied and tracked by researchers from the University of Oxford. He was known as the gentle giant.
How he died is heartbreaking and infuriating. American dentist Walter Palmer, on a hunting safari, illegally lured Cecil outside of his protected area and shot him with a crossbow.
Cecil did not die quickly, however; he suffered for 40 hours before Palmer finished him off with a bullet. Palmer tried to hide his sick and illegal act. He skinned the carcass, removed the head, and left the body to rot. He removed and tried to destroy the tracking collar but the carcass was later found by researchers. So though Palmer had a hunting permit, he broke two laws: removing the collar and inducing Cecil out of the protected area.
Lori discredits the various rationales and excuses to justify hunting in general and contends there exists genuine psychopathology within sport hunters. As for Palmer, the need to kill was strong, having killed a rhino, a polar bear, a walrus, a California Bighorn sheep, and many more.
Cecil’s killing made big news on the internet, on social media and even cable news. Protestors and those honoring the life of Cecil gathered around Palmers” Minnesota dental office. In fact, there were protests around the globe. Palmer closed his dental office for a while, and offered weak excuses for the illegal kill, mostly claiming ignorance. Yet, officials in Zimbabwe did not seek to extradite him for trial and tragically, there were no legal consequences for Palmer.
Years later, in 2020, Palmer was at it again, killing an endangered argali ram in Mongolia, with a crossbow, and paying almost $100,000 for the privilege. The New York Post dubbed him the “Driller killer”. Today, Palmer’s office, River Bluff Dental appears to be open, but his Yelp profile still shows that even recent reviewers harbor strong hatred toward the hunter. Few offer praise about his dental skills and many note the poor quality and filthiness of his dental office overall.
The memory of the majesty of Cecil and the brutal way in which he was killed continues to inspire animal advocates to this day.
The show continues commemorating National Pet Dental health month, and then a lighthearted lightning round quiz!