The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Cecil’s killer not charged

Uproar ensued across the nation when it was discovered that an American dentist killed one of the world’s most beloved animals, Cecil the lion. Cecil was a male Southwest African lion that lived on a preserve in Zimbabwe. He was the most well known animal in the park and was identifiable by both the black hair in his mane and the GPS tracker around his neck. Cecil was being studied by the University of Oxford at the time of his death and therefore was known worldwide.

On July 1, Cecil was lured off of the preserve by two Zimbabwean natives and was subsequently shot and wounded with an arrow by American dentist Walter Palmer. He was then tracked and found 40 hours later, only to be shot and killed by Palmer. When researchers noticed that Cecil’s GPS tracker was no longer working, they began searching for him and soon found his headless carcass without the GPS tracker.

The two Zimbabwean natives that assisted in the luring and killing of Cecil were subsequently arrested and accused of assisting the hunt. Palmer, who had already returned to the United States, went into hiding and released a statement saying that he could not be blamed because he relied on the guide’s knowledge on what was allowed and what wasn’t.

It seems, however, that this may be untrue. At some point, he must have seen the collar that Cecil was wearing. Why didn’t that stop him and at least force him to question what he was doing? The GPS tracker that Cecil wore around his neck could be seen clearly and that should have been a red flag.

The two men from Zimbabwe are being prosecuted in relation to the hunt, but Palmer is not being charged with anything and is free to return to Zimbabwe as long as he is not hunting.

This is completely wrong. It’s evident that Palmer seemingly knew that what he was doing was wrong. Therefore, he should be charged with something. Just because his hunting licenses were legal and filed the right way does not mean that he did nothing wrong. It is not normal to lure an animal off of a certain area of land. It is also not normal for a lion to have a GPS tracker, or for a lion to be as trusting towards people as Cecil was because of his interaction with the researchers. Palmer is an educated man and these all should have been red flags that made him stop and think about what he was doing.

The scientific study that Cecil was involved in started in 1999. Of the 62 lions tagged for this study, 24 have been killed by sport hunters. An effort needs to be made to save these animals before it is too late. They are being killed for no reason other than to boost their murderer’s ego.

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