Cecil the lion’s death exposes wildlife hunting trend

The illegal death of Cecil the lion illustrates our apathy in caring for God’s creatures.



Sarah Pineda, Writer

After luring him out of his protected sanctuary, a hunter shot and killed Cecil, a 13-year-old lion living in a national park in Zimbabwe. Cecil’s death resulted from the actions of an American dentist named Walter Palmer who paid $50,000 for his hunting trip in Africa.

The news of Cecil’s death on July 1, 2015 spread around the world, bringing the wildlife hunting trend into perspective. Although some may find no wrong in the lion’s death, many still oppose trophy hunting. This form of hunting aims towards killing the largest, most majestic animals living in the wild. This includes animals such as lions, giraffes, hippos, elephants and much more.


Genesis 2:15 says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” God gave Adam the responsibility to tend to the land and the animals who lived amongst him. Just as God called Adam to protect the animals, He called us to do the same.

Wildlife animals such as Cecil are part of God’s creation and God did not intend for us to kill them as sport. According to Genesis 1:25, “God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.” The key to this passage lies in God’s satisfaction with His work of creating wildlife and His pride in it. As God commands us to love one another as God’s workmanship, we must carry that same feeling toward the animals He created.


Palmer went into hiding after his hunt spread to the majority of media outlets, forcing him to also temporarily close his dental practice. He recently broke his silence in an interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where he stated he will return to his dental practice beginning Sept. 8. Because people remained largely unaware of trophy hunting until this incident, it may not seem fair that man receive harsh criticism for a type of hunting that occurred for many years. However, sometimes it only requires one person to expose such tragic activity.  

Only the wealthy can afford the licenses for wildlife hunting in Africa, exemplifying the niche of people who practice trophy hunting. However if these people were better informed of its harmful consequences, it would help conserve the wildlife.


When Palmer hunted Cecil, he used a carcass to draw the lion out of his protected habitat and first shot him with a bow and arrow. When Cecil did not die immediately, Palmer came back two days later to kill him with a gun. Then, Palmer beheaded the lion to pose with him in a photograph. Cecil endured a slow and painful death, and was sadly displayed as a trophy.

Palmer relied on the expertise of his guides on the hunt and claimed he did not know Cecil was collared. However, even if he did not see the collar on the lion, it was illegal to hunt in the area he took Cecil’s life. According to CNN, two Zimbabweans have led the hunt have been charged in the case and could possible be faced with time in prison. Palmer has not been charged but African officials are asking for the dentist to be extradited for his crime. If the two guides have been charged, I believe Palmer should also be charged for the death of Cecil.

Before Cecil, Palmer killed 43 animals including polar bears, walrus, rhinoceros and more using his bow and arrow. All these creatures played a key role in their ecosystem and hunting took them from their homes in grotesque ways.

This tragic event reminds us we should care for God’s creatures if we claim to obey His Word.

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