American Hunters Bag Hundreds of Lions a Year

Washington Post: Walter Palmer is far from the only one
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2015 6:37 PM CDT
In this undated photo provided by the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Cecil the lion rests in Hwange National Park, in Zimbabwe.   (Andy Loveridge/Wildlife Conservation Research Unit via AP)

(Newser) – As the outrage against dentist and lion-killer Walter Palmer simmers, the Washington Post points out that he's far from the only American hunter to kill a lion in Africa. In fact, hundreds do so every year in legal hunts. Palmer's problem is that his guides lured a lion out of a protected area. Conversation groups estimate that at least 600 lions are killed annually by hunters looking for a trophy kill. And most of those hunters—64% by the most recent estimate—are from the US. One contributing factor, explains the Post, is that the US considers lions "threatened," a lesser label than "endangered," which would prevent hunters from bringing back their "lion trophies."

Palmer belongs to the hunting group Safari Club International, which extols the thrill of a lion hunt: "Virtually anyone who imagines an African Safari envisions the big maned lion charging the implacable hunter shouldering his European double rifle." Of course, that's a far cry from how such lions usually get killed, and how Palmer killed his. It remains unclear whether Palmer will face charges, but the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that federal officials are investigating and are prepared to help Zimbabwe's investigation. Police, meanwhile, have increased patrols around his office in Bloomington. (Jimmy Kimmel has a suggestion for how people can channel their outrage productively.)

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