The outrage over the killing of Cecil the lion comes overwhelmingly from people in America, Europe and other First World western nations, who live half a world away from wild populations of lions anyway, and who have no understanding of the hardships of life on the ground for millions of Africans. Things have been so cosy and comfortable for westerners for so long, that they can waste time venting about the death of a single lion in far-away Africa. They are able to protest and shout slogans, and then return home to their abundant meals and safe homes.
But in that same far-away Africa, daily life is a constant struggle for survival for millions, and the plight of a single lion, shot by some wealthy American, leaves them cold – especially when so many Africans, in addition to the hardships they face from famines, droughts, wars, etc., often face the additional dangers posed by lions and other large wild creatures. “The world of Palmer, who paid $50 000 to kill 13-year-old Cecil, is a very different one from that inhabited by millions of rural Africans. According to CrocBITE, a database, from January 2008 to October 2013, there were more than 460 recorded attacks by Nile crocodiles, most of them fatal. That tally is a massive underrepresentation.” And crocs are by no means the only animals that kill Africans in large numbers every year: lions, elephants, hippo and others do so as well.
Notice how there is decidedly less enthusiasm for the protection of the less “cuddly”, “cute” and “furry” animals. If Palmer had shot a crocodile, one wonders if there would have been the same outcry. The same thing is seen with the “Save the Dolphins” and “Save the Whales” crowd: why no similar campaigns to “Save the Tuna” or “Save the Black Mamba”? Somehow I don’t think there would be hate-filled messages saying “murderer” and “terrorist” if Palmer had killed a boa constrictor. Selective outrage adds hypocrisy to stupidity.
(And once again, I would not want to see all dolphins or whales wiped out either. What an incalculable loss that would be! But let’s quit the hysteria and put things in perspective.)
The words of one Zimbabwean, Joseph Mabuwa, summarised the way millions of other Africans feel about this whole matter. “Why are the Americans more concerned than us?” he said. “We never hear them speak out when villagers are killed by lions and elephants in Hwange [Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe].” That is because many radical Greens couldn’t care less if humans die; they only explode in anger when animals die. For another pillar of radical environmentalism is population reduction. Many radical activists want the human population to be drastically lowered, by any means possible. So if lions kill humans, well, “that’s nature’s way”; but if humans kill lions, they are murderers and terrorists.
Yes, it is certainly true that black Africans should be concerned about dwindling populations of African wildlife. They will be the greatest losers if such magnificent creatures disappear entirely one day. But the fact still remains that it is extremely difficult to convince rural Africans of the value of a single lion, when they struggle to find enough food to eat every day of their lives. The over-the-top reaction, in the western world, to Cecil’s death is disgusting to people facing hunger, as well as danger from wild animals. David, when he was a young shepherd, killed a lion to save his flock (1 Sam. 17:34-36), and was entirely justified in doing so; and no rural African can be expected to shed tears over the death of a lion when his livelihood, scant as it is, is threatened by one.
Radical wildlife activists think that by banning such things as lion hunting, they will be saving lions from extinction. But this is not so! Facts are stubborn things, and radical environmentalists much prefer “creating” their own “facts” than paying attention to real ones. But here are the real ones: