Cecil the Lion was killed earlier this month. Killed might be a kind word. What happened was he was lured out of his refuge by bait tied to the back of a truck. This world-renown, black-maned majestic beast was then wounded by an other-than-accurate would-be bow hunter/dentist, stalked again, killed and then decapitated and skinned. Poached is the word used; like he was nothing more than an egg or a raw chicken breast.
Killing for sport is almost entirely a human condition, I’m thinking. I’ve heard tales of killer whales herding sea lions into a group and then taking pot shots at them, only to allow the dead and wounded to sink to the bottom of the sea. I don’t know but if that be true then it’s a dangerous sign as they’re becoming more and more like man every day.
Someone, I don’t know who, once said that you don’t see animals screwing each other over for a buck or killing each other over love or property. It’s true. Death in nature while ugly, intense and hideous is sterile. It generally comes as par for the course, an instance of natural selection.
Such a death awaits Cecil’s pride, thanks to Dr. Death, I mean Dr. Walter Palmer. As explained, with the leader of the pride now dead, his successor will ensure the triumph of his own bloodline in Machiavellian-fashion by killing the now dead and defunct leader’s siblings.
I’m not going to beat the proverbial dead-horse on this. I will ask a question though. Am I the only human being who is sick of seeing men smiling and cheesing for the camera with a dead animal in the fore shot?
Personally over the years, I’ve had to come to terms with my own roots, my own family history while feeling this way or that about hunting. My father was a sustenance hunter at times during my childhood. I have memories of eating rabbit (sort of), coon (nah!) and squirrel (I can recall it being in front of me, sure). Even as a lover of animals, I’ve evolved to respect those who hunt and eat what they kill. It’s a relationship as old as the earth and I get that.
What I don’t understand are these canned hunts for sport. Technically, the hunt that killed Cecil wasn’t canned. The lion wasn’t in an enclosed area with no means to outrun his pursuer; but he was lured away from his game preserve. I’ve always thought, romantically some will think, that a true hunt, one that honors all three parties-hunter, hunted and nature-would take place on more of a level playing field; one where the hunter’s survival is at stake as much as the prey he stalks.
We are on the precipice of a new day, a new dawn. There’s a connection between how we treat “lower” life forms and our ability to be tolerant and decent with other humans, especially those on the fringe. Mankind will only become all that he can be when he recognizes that he exists in a partnership with every living thing on the planet. Killing as sport is blatantly inhuman.
Dominion over all things, as the Bible dictates some are sure to counter, is not carte-blanche to slaughter everything you want to, any way you want to. Even after thousands of years of existence and study, we still don’t get it. Damn.