The death of Cecil the lion at the hands of a Midwestern dentist is reprehensible, but not uncommon, either in the country or the continent of Africa itself. In Zimbabwe, where the now infamous killing took place,there is currently 80% percent unemployment and the nation is still recovering from the billion percent hyper-inflation over a decade, the residents of Zimbabwe are puzzled over the outcry of the death of this lion.
“For most people in the southern African nation, where unemployment tops 80 percent and the economy continues to feel the after-effects of billion percent hyperinflation a decade ago, the uproar had all the hallmarks of a ‘First World Problem’.”
The practice of “canned hunting”, where the animal is kept in a confined area in order to ensure and easier kill currently brings in an estimate of $200 million a year. That is not small change.
Many of the African countries rely upon trophy hunting tourism to boost their flagging economies.
In Zimbabwe, the inflation is still 82% and the tourism industry brings in 14.5% of the country’s revenue.
Namibia’s economy reflects a 27.4% unemployment rate with tourism bringing in 14.5% of the revenue. Sport hunting brings in $19.6 million.
South Africa’s economy relies on trophy tourism to boost its economy, which has a 25-35% unemployment rate.
Tanzania’s tourism contributes 12.7% to the country’s GDP and its unemployment rate is about 15%.
And finally Botswana’s unemployment rate of 17.5%, while not terrible, is also boosted by the tourism industry which brings in 12% of its GDP.
I have seen friends of mine mourn over the deaths of animals while turning a complete deaf ear to the plight of the humans in the same countries. Problems such as FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), child bride marriage and blatant human rights violations are being ignored in favor of more “noble” creatures . While I admire their compassion, I can’t help but wonder if it’s easier to mourn the deaths of animals than to face the fact that they are unwilling to show the same compassion to the humans who are basically experiencing the same plight simply because the humans in these countries have different appearances or different cultures. The rationale is that the animals have no voice. In a very real sense, neither do the humans whose rights are being blatantly violated all across this planet.
For starters, you could investigate such NPOs such as Human Rights Watch (https://www.hrw.org) and Equality Now, which fights for the human rights of women all over the globe (www.equalitynow.org). The animals won’t get much of a break until the humans are able to care for them and they won’t be able to care for them until they have *their* human rights restored and can live full, happy lives.
Happy Hunting, Y’all.