Cecil the lion – let’s never let this happen again
Five years ago today Cecil the lion was tragically shot with a crossbow by a trophy hunter. He was found wounded hours later, where he was then finally killed.
Trophy hunting is cruel and unnecessary
Trophy hunting is one of the cruellest forms of wildlife abuse and can often cause prolonged suffering for the hunted animals and leave juvenile animals alone, unable to survive.
An animal should never have to suffer for a so-called bloodsport most people would be horrified by.
As well as causing immense individual animal suffering, the trophy hunting industry is wracked by corruption, the ecology in hunting areas in many countries is collapsing, and the bulk of the money generated never reaches local communities or conservation projects.
Image: An adult male lion in the Mara Maasai national park in Kenya.
Hunting trophies come to the UK
Every year, hundreds of thousands of wild animals are killed by trophy hunters. Hundreds of species, including many that are threatened with extinction, are in the trophy hunters’ sights.
Trophy hunters come from all over the world, including the UK. Over the past decade, some 2,500 trophies from protected species, including elephants, hippopotamus, zebra, leopards, lions, bears, and even baboons, have been imported by UK-based trophy hunters.
Ban trophy hunting
That’s why we’ve been working alongside other animal protection organisations, including the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting and Born Free, to urge the government to ban trophy hunting imports and exports.
In 2019 the government promised to ban imports from trophy hunting of endangered species. After a long consultation process on a ban was completed by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, we are still waiting for the government to release the responses, let alone to fulfill their promise to enact the ban.
76% of Brits would back a ban
Research shows that the majority of Brits do not want trophy hunting with 76% backing a ban on the import and exports of hunting trophies of all animal species and not just those which are threatened or endangered.
This would stop trophies being imported and exported and help protect majestic creatures such as Cecil the lion from cruel trophy hunters. Also the ban would help prevent deadly diseases such as the coronavirus which is widely thought to have originated from the wild animal trade.
Image: a still from our 2019 film raising awareness of animal cruelty. This is a computer-generated artwork, no animals were harmed. The hunters are actors.
Links to traditional Asian medicine
As well as the trophies, big cats are also valuable for their bones, bloodand other body parts which are exported to be used in traditional Asian medicine products.
These products include wines, capsules, gels and balms believed to cure ailments ranging from arthritis to meningitis.
How to end this cruelty
We are leading a new coalition of24 animal protection and wildlife conservation groups, Campaign to End Wildlife Trade, calling on Boris Johnson to back a global wildlife trade ban at the G20 meeting of world leaders in November to help prevent a future zoonotic pandemic.
This would stop trophies being imported and exported and help protect majestic creatures just like Cecil the lion from cruel trophy hunters. The ban would also help prevent deadly zoonotic diseases such as the coronavirus which is widely thought to have emerged from the wild animal trade.
Image: a wild lion stalking prey in a national park in Kenya. Credit: Getty Images
Sign the petition calling for a ban
You can sign the petition here calling on the UK government to secure a global wildlife trade ban and end the import and export of trophies from wild animals into the UK.