Here’s Why It’s OK To Kill Lions, & Tigers, & Bears! Oh My! [PODCAST]

July 29, 2015

People's emotions are running high over an incident in Zimbabwe where an American dentist killed a famous lion in a trophy hunt using a bow and arrow. 

Walter Palmer is receiving death threats after it emerged that he killed "Cecil," a tourist's favorite and a protected lion from a national park. Palmer claims that he was acting in good faith, and that he didn't mean to kill a protected lion, but that hasn't stopped the death threats from people who don't understand conservation or economics. 

From the Star Tribune: 

Walter J. Palmer of Eden Prairie, a practicing dentist in Bloomington and a prominent bow-and-arrow hunter, issued a statement addressing the killing on July 1 of Cecil, a lion that was a favorite among tourists and wildlife researchers.

“I hired several professional guides, and they secured all proper permits,” Palmer’s statement read. “To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled.

“I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.”

Zimbabwe game officials said Tuesday that two of Palmer’s guides are facing charges in the incident and that they “are looking for Palmer.”

Palmer, 55, who pleaded guilty to a license violation after shooting a black bear in Wisconsin in 2008, said he has not been contacted by any authorities in Zimbabwe or the U.S., but added that he will cooperate with investigators. The public-relations firm that worked with Palmer on the statement said he was in the Twin Cities on Tuesday.

“Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion,” the statement concluded.

Despite Palmer's apology, people are excoriating the dentist for the kill. Late night host Jimmy Fallon took a poke at his manhood, suggesting that Palmer take Viagra if he needed to get an erection in killing something. That's funny, but it doesn't get to the heart of the matter over whether it should be legal to trophy hunt, and whether or not it's ethical. 

It's legal AND ethical. Providing the hunter does follow the proper permitting process, which in this case it may not be so. But in the instances where a trophy hunter does follow proper procedure, the extraordinary amount of money paid to hunt exotic animals is reinvested back in the natural habitat or park where the animals are taken. 

Today's Freedom Report podcast takes a look at the economics of hunting, and analyzes the cost/benefit of taking wild animals.

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