There are few events to take the Internet’s attention hostage like this week’s outrage over the death of a 13 year-old Zimbabwean lion. Vince O’Sullivan photographed the proud animal one year ago today—Aug. 1, 2014. He updated the caption to add context better coming from him than me.
“This is, of course, ‘Cecil’—the lion famously shot and wounded by crossbow fired by American dentist Walter Palmer in July 2015 and then shot, killed, skinned, and beheaded for trophies two days later”, Vince explains. “Living in a nature reserve, Cecil was completely inured to people in vehicles that didn’t interfere with him or his prey. So approaching him closely was never difficult, a daily occurrence for him and something he paid no attention to”.
Around July 1, Palmer’s guides lured Cecil from his protected enclave, Hwange National Park. Earlier this week, the UK’s Telegraph identified Palmer as the hunter. The Minnesota dentist reportedly paid $55,000 for the opportunity to kill the lion. Well, any lion. He had the misfortune of killing one that had been tagged for scientific study and was well known among the nature reserve’s confines and beyond.
Yesterday, I criticized mob journalism filling news and social media sites. Today, I pay homage to a majestic animal robbed of life by a stereotype: Rich, white, middle-aged, American male.
National Geographic‘s reporting is best-of-class for its impartiality and informativeness, if you would like to learn more about this lion and others across Africa. I suggest beginning with “Cecil Is One of Hundreds of Lions Killed Recently in Zimbabwe“, by Brian Clark Howard.
Not to ignore Vince’s portrait of the big cat, he used Nikon D600 and 80-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 lens. Vitals: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/400 sec, 400mm. For fuller body view, he offers another. The UK-native joined Flickr in August 2005.
Photo Credit: Vince O’Sullivan