CECIL LOVERS: Guess Who’s TRULY Responsible for Killing Zim’s Lions and Wildlife

For everyone who is sending death threats to Dr. Palmer for hunting Cecil the Lion, here is who you should be directing your hate towards.

by Nash Jenkins, TIME

It is no accident that one of the two men who accompanied the dentist on the safari, and who have now been arrested, was a farmer (the other was a professional hunter hired by Palmer as a guide). State wildlife officials claim that Honest Trymore Ndlovu helped lured the lion off the wildlife reserve and onto his property, Antoinette Farm, where the beast was killed.

Why would he do such a thing? Perhaps because he is a farmer in a country where agriculture is an industry of destitution. Zimbabwe was once celebrated as the “breadbasket of Africa,” whose fertile earth supplied the world with abundant tobacco, corn and wheat. Today, 76% of its rural population lives in abject poverty, dependent on foreign food aid and desperate measures — like the poaching of the wildlife that inhabits its otherwise barren lands, or rendering assistance to those who want to hunt or poach.

In 2000, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe enacted a disastrous land-reform policy. Farms were divided up and nationalized and many plots were handed out to generals and ministers. Thousands of white landowners were violently evicted from their farms, which were then parceled into smallholdings and given to black Zimbabweans. The destruction of property rights led to a disintegrating economy and widespread poverty. Poaching — to feed the insatiable demand for rhino horn and ivory in China and other parts of Asia — became rife and much of the wildlife in Zimbabwe was simply wiped out.

Until 2000 Zimbabwe had a successful wildlife-management program, with many big-game animals flourishing. But by 2003, a staggering 80% of the animals that had lived on Zimbabwean safari camps (which employed firm quotas to regulate animal population sizes) had died. By 2007, there were only 14 private game farms in the country, compared with 620 prior to the land seizures of 2000, according to a National Geographic report. With the protection of private game reserves nearly nonexistent, once abundant wildlife began dying off, hunted by desperate farmers with no other options for sustenance.

Despite the passing of harsher laws for poachers in 2011 illegal hunting in Zimbabwe is still big business. Poaching syndicates earn hundreds of thousands of dollars exporting ivory and animal skins. Many conservationists believe allowing the community to reap the benefits of wildlife management — by, ironically, running the sorts of safaris on which Palmer shot his lion — will help curb illegal poaching. But it is impossible to have that debate while the world brays for the ruin of a lone Minnesotan dentist, and fails to criticize a regime whose policies were responsible for the almost complete extinction of Zimbabwean wildlife in the first place.

Read more: TIME

SEE ALSO: PIERS MORGAN: Says He Wants To Hunt & Kill Controversial Lion Hunter

JIMMY KIMMEL: Cries About Dead Lion But Not About Aborted Baby Parts Being Sold

SAVE LIONS & KILL BABIES: The Moral Dilemma of a Dead Lion

CECIL THE LION: Here’s Some Particulars You Won’t Hear On TV

MAYBE IF WE CALLED UNBORN BABIES ‘CECIL THE LION’: Then Liberals Would Care About Them

 

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Get Doug Giles’ new book, Rise, Kill and Eat: A Theology of Hunting from Genesis to Revelation today!

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