To the American people and Dr. Walter James Palmer, My heart has truly been shattered in response to the murder of Cecil, Zimbabwe's famous lion. However, my heart hurts even more for our reactions to this event rather than the passing of one of Africa's great kings. I would like to take the time to demonstrate the deeper issues regarding these events in an explanation that incorporates with both common sense and science.
It is a known fact that lion populations (like tigers, leopards, and jaguars) have dropped drastically throughout the last fifty years due to human-wildlife conflicts, deforestation, genetic bottle necking, hunting, etc. For those of you that did not know, in 1975 there were an estimated 200,000 lions roaming Africa-now there are 25 to 30,000. Wild lion population declines can also be attributed to the international exotic pet trade, game meat consumption, entertainment (including cub petting and commercials), and let's not forget about canned hunts.
There is no historic justification to hunting other than survival during a time where dinner did not come from a box or was prepared on a shelf. Hunting comes from a history where human beings co-existed on this planet in a sustainable lifestyle. During my time spent with the Six Nations (Iroquois) in upstate New York, the elders still today educated their youth on the concepts of hunting and sustainability. If the deer population was low, hunting was limited so that repopulation could occur. Back then, people understood that resources necessary for our survival could not be hunted to extinction. Therefore, you cannot be contributing to conservation if you are hunting a threatened and declining species.