If you ever want to make yourself unpopular, say something ‘uncaring’ about a gorilla being shot, a badger being culled, or a wild animal being hunted down. You will definitely make yourself appear the world’s worst ogre, a monster, even (and this is where it gets personal) ‘backward.’
Yes, there was a time when civilised people understood that they were not like animals. Humans were ‘special,’ completely separated from the rest of the animal kingdom. We have faculties of reason, intellect, we have an idealism which remaining creatures don’t have.
But alas, those sensible times are days of yore. We now have to debase ourselves to the level of the rest of the animal kingdom or raise them up to our level. And woe betide if you disagree with this nonsense.
While common sense might have flown the coop in America, in the UK, and other ‘enlightened’ countries, it seems to have settled down nicely in Zimbabwe. Three days ago, a court in Zimbabwe ruled that Theo Bronkhorst – an accomplice in the ‘assassination’ of Cecil the Lion (we gave him that name, not his parents, don’t forget) – couldn’t be prosecuted for technical reasons. Well, I suppose it’s not exactly a victory for common sense. Probably more of a victory for Zimbabwean game-hunting tourism and apparently Theo Bronkhorst (aka a ‘monster’) is not completely out of the woods as of yet.
Lions across Africa, of course, are little perturbed by the ruling. There were no lions in the Harare courtroom because they take no interest in our legal squabbles. Lions and other predatory creatures don’t ask what is the right or wrong thing to do, which is not to say either that they don’t observe some manners amongst their closest of kin. They just don’t develop an ethical system as we know it. Lions merely size up whatever they see and determine whether it can be caught to feed themselves and the pride.
What really makes me shake my head at this concern for Cecil and his ilk is that lions don’t even have a function for humans, like being bred for meat or for their hairs. Granted they might make good ‘watch-dogs’ if they are raised at a young enough age, so they might have some use to an individual. However, if they get loose, God help you. And they don’t play a role like some birds or insects in eating up pests that might damage crops. Generally, they are a nuisance to humans, and a source of clear danger, regardless of how beautiful they look.
Lions still roam places like Zimbabwe but they have been wiped out in North Africa. Locals in Morocco and Algeria are surviving just fine without the chance of being eaten up and ripped to pieces by a carnivorous swarm. Perfectly understandable, isn’t it?
So apart from the fact that we can’t farm lions, we can’t use them in productive ways, and notwithstanding the health and safety risks, we are left with the glorious view of lions panting, prowling, crouching, sprinting, and preying, across the African Savannah. Very comfortable to watch the spectacle on Discovery Channel, I’m sure. The natives who are terrorized by lions? We don’t really care about them. After all, they are only humans and humans are not the special and superior creatures they once were considered. Don’t worry … if a mother and father lose their child, or indeed themselves, to a vicious lion, that is their bag. They’ll get over it. We won’t get over the thought of a ‘brutal’ hunter, or of losing the sight of a majestic (if violent) group of predators to history.
Now that I think about it, maybe the solution is to evacuate all those wild lions from the clutches of predators and dump them on the doorstep of the people protesting for Cecil the Lion. There’s an interesting thought.