Wednesday, July 29, 2015

365 True Things: 122/Action

Yesterday the killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe by a Minnesota dentist trophy hunter blew up on the Internet—with reason. The tactics used were cheap (baiting and luring), arrogant (although I like lists, I do not like lists like the trophy hunters' "Super Slam"), and expensive (the equivalent of four years' tuition at a pretty good college), and the result was the death of a beautiful, beloved, innocent animal.

But what good does moral outrage really do? Of course it's sickening what happened, but we can't get Cecil—or all the rhinoceroses, tigers, elephants, and other animals killed each year (each month) for their monetarily valuable "parts"—back.

Because of course, an even bigger problem than trophy hunting is poaching: killing for "aphrodisiacs," for illegal ivory, for whatever ridiculous "needs" we humans have.

As the Washington Post reported today, "As the world mourned Cecil the lion, five of Kenya's endangered elephants were slain."

It's abhorrent. But maybe Cecil's death will bring some awareness to this awful issue.

And yes, we can do something, beyond being morally outraged. At the passive end of the spectrum, we can sign online petitions, like one urging Delta Airlines to stop transporting exotic trophy animals.

If we love elephants, we can support (so named because "96 elephants are killed in Africa every day"), which offers various avenues of action.

We can donate to conservation groups that are working to make a difference for all these animals. Even if we can't go out and stop the murders ourselves, we can contribute to a larger good that is trying to do so.

This is a huge topic. And this is a blog, so limited by design and intent. I did, however, want to point to a website, One Green Planet, and a useful list it posted a year ago: not all just your usual conservation suspects, but groups focused (at least as part of their mission) specifically on poaching.
There are, I'm sure, many many many more groups that are doing good work and can use support. I would urge you to find one—and it needn't be conservation oriented: give to a local shelter, food bank, or health clinic, if people are your bag.

If nothing else, I hope that Cecil has inspired at least some of the people who shouted moral outrage to act on their feelings.


  1. Thank you for this. You have done something!

  2. Outrage is good. It leads to actions like these you suggest. Thank you for sharing.