From Gary Weitzman, DVM, MPH, CAWA
President and CEO of the San Diego Humane Society
By now, there can be no one on earth who hasn't heard about the tragedy of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe. That tragedy hurt more than Cecil – news reports indicate it's hurt and offended most of humanity. The fact that some humans regard animals as nothing more than trophies to display on a wall is a disgrace beyond words which makes me sad for animals and despondent for humanity.
Cecil's death is horrible beyond description. The fact that one human can so callously kill something that many others have pledged their lives to save, is monstrous. (Read the full story and understand why Zimbabwe officials are calling for the extradition of the American involved.)
This is not an issue about animal rights, hunting for food, or even animals as food. This is an issue about humanity, the best example of which is how we treat animals with whom we share this earth.
However, despondent is not a destination in which to dwell. The entire planet shares a collective sadness over the killing of this noble creature. That fact alone gives me hope for our species. At San Diego Humane Society, we believe all animals matter – locally, regionally, and abroad. Our mission is to inspire compassion, so when some of our supporters reached out and asked how they can contribute in response to Cecil's tragedy, we told them not to send us a dime. We'll advocate and stand by when needed but we encourage you to support the program that has been tracking Cecil since 2008, the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at the University of Oxford, at wildcru.org.
Cecil's tragedy is beyond horrific. But maybe, just maybe, something good will come of this by turning the spotlight on, and better eliminating, sport hunting of all living beings – whether they're dolphins in Taigi, buffalo in Gadhimai, or Cecil and all the other magnificent creatures living on savannahs anywhere on earth.