Photo via Wikipedia.
Anyone that regularly reads my blog knows that while I find all forms of modern hunting deplorable, I hold a special revulsion for those that kill predators such as bears, canines, and big cats. This is especially true of the predator “hunters” in Wisconsin that are allowed to hound, bait, and trap just about every predator species and kill them with every tool short of artillery.
When news broke about the killing of a famous and very photogenic male lion in Zimbabwe known as Cecil the first thought that popped into my head is that he was likely killed by a wealthy American trophy killer. I had no evidence to back that up and only a gut feeling. Today when the UK newspaper The Telegraph broke the news that Cecil was indeed killed by a wealthy American trophy “hunter” I can’t say that I was shocked. Even less shocking is that the Minnesota based trophy “hunter” is a convicted poacher of a Wisconsin black bear in 2006. I wonder what other ties this guy has to Wisconsin’s sick and brutal predator “hunter” culture? From the article:
Cecil the lion – the most famous creature in one of Zimbabwe’s national parks – was killed by an American hunter who has boasted about shooting a menagerie of animals with his bow and arrow, The Telegraph can reveal.
Walter James Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, is believed to have paid £35,000 to shoot and kill the much-loved lion with a bow and arrow. The animal was shot on July 1 in Hwange National Park. Two independent sources have confirmed the hunter’s identity to the paper, which has also seen a copy of the relevant hunting permit.
Also from the article:
During the hunt – which the organisers later admitted was badly carried out – it was alleged that Cecil was lured at night about half a mile out of the national park using bait, and then shot with a bow and arrow. The next day he was found wounded by the hunters and killed, before being beheaded and skinned.
Animals cannot be killed within the confines of the park. The hunters then removed his collar – further contravening park rules.
Palmer is apparently no stranger to this kind of behavior judging from his poaching of a Wisconsin black bear in 2007:
Mr Palmer has also run into legal woes. In 2008, court records show, he pleaded guilty to making a false statement to federal wildlife officials concerning the exact location of the slaying of a black bear during a guided hunt in Wisconsin. He was sentenced to a year probation.
I am so shocked that an esteemed member of Wisconsin’s bear hunting community would partake in poaching and lying. Shocked I tell you. Even more disturbing is that the New York Times wrote a fluff/snuff piece in 2009 documenting Palmer’s killing of a “trophy” and “record” elk in California after paying $45,000 to do so. The NYT wrote this fluff piece knowing full well that Palmer was convicted of poaching in Wisconsin and served a year of probation.
As the season began, Palmer was completing a year of probation. In 2008, court records show, he pleaded guilty to making a false statement to federal wildlife officials concerning the exact location of the slaying of a black bear during a guided hunt in Wisconsin. In his sentencing order, prosecutors had specifically agreed that the “defendant shall be permitted to possess archery equipment for lawful sporting purposes.”
A big money poacher getting special treatment from the feds? Again, color me shocked. Most poachers are supposed to lose their killing privileges through most of the country. Apparently that wasn’t the case here.
The killing of Cecil also reminds me of the killing of another famous predator that was possibly baited or strayed out of the sanctuary of a national park right here in the United States. In December of 2012 probably the most photogenic and famous wolf in America, known as “832F” was shot and killed by a great white hunter outside of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Like Cecil “832F” or ’06 as she was known was a very popular and photogenic female wolf that dazzled visitors to Yellowstone from all over the world. Also like Cecil her death came at the hands of a trophy killer. This killer refuses to this day to be identified. Form an article in Outside Magazine:
On a December day about 15 miles east of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, a hunter fired a shot heard around the world—he legally killed a female wolf wearing a GPS research collar. It’s not known whether the hunter was hunting wolves or looking for other game and opportunistically shot her. It’s not known if he chose to shoot the wolf wearing the radio collar. Not much is known because the hunter has chosen not to reveal himself publicly (though he was given the opportunity to for this article). He is, in all likelihood, concerned about the reaction from wolf advocates, because the wolf he shot was the most famous wolf—perhaps the most famous single wild animal—on earth.
The wolf’s collar identified her as 832F, but she was better known to tens of thousands of people internationally as the “06 Female,” the unusually big, barrel-chested alpha female of the Lamar Canyon Pack. She was not the first Yellowstone wolf killed during Wyoming’s inaugural open season on wolves (Montana and Idaho have already had two years of wolf-hunting). A few weeks earlier, her packmate, a beta male she sometimes bred with, was shot and killed in Wyoming as well.
The killing of 832F touched off anger and grief in the wildlife advocacy movement. Almost as infuriating as her killing was the arrogant and boastful way anti-wolf factions celebrated her death. The killing of Cecil and 832F show the mindset of the modern trophy “hunter” and how they go out of their way to kill an animal that thousands if not millions of people cherish for their own sick and twisted wants and desires. That two lives which brought smiles and happiness to so many could be snuffed out by heartless and selfish killers so easily should horrify anyone that has the slightest empathy and concern for our wildlife. The selfish nature of modern trophy “hunters” and their money seem to take precedence over the wishes and emotions of millions of people on this planet. That is truly shameful.
As for the Minnesota dentist/trophy killer that paid $55,000 to kill Cecil, James Palmer of Bloomington, MN, he seems to have picked the wrong lion to bait and kill. The outrage generated by the selfish killing of this beautiful lion has set off a firestorm of anger across the world even eclipsing the outrage over the death of 832F.
As horrible as the death of this majestic lion was this may be the tipping point for the conversation about trophy “hunting” both here in the United States and across the world. For most sane people it is inconceivable to deprive millions of people the joy of observing a beautiful animal like Cecil or 832F alive and thriving in their habitats so that a killing fetishist can have a head to hang on their wall. Unfortunately that is not the world we live in. We live in a sick and twisted world where the wholesale trophy killing of species like wolves and lions is considered “conservation.” When wealthy death fetishists can drop tens of hundreds of thousands of dollars to kill increasingly rare or endangered species, like the black rhino killed by Dallas Safari Club ghoul Corey Knowlton earlier this year, the concept of “conservation” has been forever perverted.To add insult to injury Knowlton was allowed by the increasingly anti-wildlife US Fish and Wildlife Service to bring his “trophy” back to the United States for his ghoulish collection while the few remaining black rhinos inch closer and closer each day toward total extinction. All so one death fetishist can have a “trophy” to hang on his wall?
Could the sick trophy killing behavior or death fetishists like Knowlton and Palmer finally disgust enough people where a real conversation about what “conservation” really is can begin? Instead of being celebrated by the mainstream media for their sick trophy killing exploits these people need to be ostracized and called out for their disgusting behavior. This is certainly happening in the case of Palmer and his dental business. The Facebook pages and websites associated with Palmer and his business have been taken down and his dental office was closed on Tuesday. No doubt because he has been feeling the heat of his actions. I have no sympathy for this convicted poacher or those like him that seek to deprive not only life to our increasingly imperiled wildlife but to take away the joy of millions that will never see a magnificent animal like Cecil or 832F in the wild again. For what? All for a “trophy?” For a head to hang on a wall in some sick ghoulish display like something out of a horror movie? Ghouls like Palmer and Knowlton want you to think that they are the “victim” because people have directed their outrage at them for their sick behavior. The only victims in these stories are the animals needlessly slaughtered and the millions of people that will never get to see them alive and thriving. All for a freaking “trophy” and an ego boost.
While finishing up this post I came across this quote in a news article about Palmer and the death fetish club that he has “records” with.
“Palmer has several hunts on record with the Pope and Young Club, where archers register big game taken in North America for posterity, said Glenn Hisey, the club’s director of records. Hisey said he didn’t have immediate access to records showing the types and number of animals killed by Palmer, but he noted that club records involve legal hunts “taken under our rules of fair chase.”
“Although African game wouldn’t be eligible, Hisey said he alerted the group’s board that Palmer’s ethics were being called into question. He said Palmer’s domestic records could be jeopardized if he’s found to have done something illegal abroad.”
So poaching a black bear in Wisconsin isn’t enough to have his “domestic records” “jeopardized” but poaching an animal overseas will? Pope and Young Club? It sounds to me like it is the Poach and Brag Club. It’s time to take off the gloves and call out these sick death fetish “clubs” and their members for being the sickos that they truly are. Enough of them perverting “conservation” and pretending that what they do has any legitimate role in the “management” of our wildlife here and abroad. It’s time that these sick poachers and the pervert groups that enable them be called out for what they truly are: death fetishists.