Cecil the Lion was illegally killed for sport in Zimbabwe by American Walter James Palmer of Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Jeff Flocken, North American Regional Director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) stated
“We are extremely saddened by the news of Cecil the Lion being illegally killed for sport—not only from an animal welfare perspective, but also for conservation reasons. African lion populations have declined sharply, dropping nearly 60 percent in the last three decades. With as few as 32,000 African lions remaining in the wild, individuals matter for conserving the species. Even worse, the killing of a dominant male in a pride, like Cecil, can have a ripple effect and result in the deaths of other males, young cubs and females in that pride.
“And as troubling as it is, the rarer these trophy hunted animals become, the more hunters are willing to pay to kill them—like the American hunter, who recently paid $350,000 to kill a critically endangered black rhino in Namibia.”
“Actions, like these, are quickly pushing imperiled species toward extinction. So long as a value continues to be placed on these animals, where they are worth more dead than alive, the future of majestic creatures like elephants, lions, tigers and rhinos will remain in grave jeopardy.”