When Walter Palmer killed Cecil, the famous lion in Africa, animal welfare advocates were joined by millions around the world as outrage was expressed via social media. Celebrities and the public alike were horrified and quick to post to Twitter and Facebook demanding justice. More than one hundred thousand people signed the petition to extradite Palmer to face charges for the killing.
Yet, despite the horrific circumstances, this was a victory for animal welfare advocates because there was such huge support from the public in the fight against trophy hunting. However, this seems short-lived. Although Zimbabwe banned trophy hunting (in what seem like a PR move), the ban was lifted the next day.
Over the next few days, outrage seemed to waiver when Palmer went into hiding. As of now, the dental office where he works is back to business, even though he has not shown up to work. The likelihood that he will be extradited is very low and it seems that he may not even receive a “slap on the wrist” for the behavior that shocked the world.
Where did the outrage go? How is it that people were so fired up, but now there seems to be little media attention and few posts about it on social media?
For years, canned hunting has occurred throughout Africa. How is it that the killing of one lion has caused so much uproar from the public and yet trophy hunting and poaching in general hasn’t? How many people are aware that there is only one male northern white rhino left in the world? This rhino receives 24-hour protection because of the great threat of poachers.
The term “animal activist” conjures negative images for many and tends to turn them off from the predicament of many animals in the world. Activists are considered fanatics, yet many are just individuals concerned about the future plight of animals such as elephants, rhinos, lions, and pangolins, which soon could become extinct.
As an animal welfare advocate, I continually post petitions and news articles on my social media pages. I have no doubt that some people unfollow me because they are sick of being barraged by these posts. These are the same people that probably signed petitions expressing outrage over the killing of Cecil the lion! Where is the line between caring about the animals of the world and being an obsessive activist?
Not everyone has the time, drive, or desire to become actively involved in animal-rights campaigns. But for those who are outraged about the killing of Cecil the lion, please remember how this affected you in the future when you read about trophy hunting and poaching in Africa. At the rate the killing is going now, many animals are risk. TIME suggests that if you want to stop future extinction of these animals there are things you can do, such as: becoming informed, making your voice heard (such as through petitions), visiting organizations against poaching, volunteering, and donating towards the cause.
Will you continue to express your outrage against not only the killing of Cecil, but the potential extinction of many magnificent African animals in the future?