Cecil the lion lived wild and free on the plains of Africa. He was head of two prides, protector of his families and the king of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. But in July 2015, Cecil was callously killed with a bow and arrow by American dentist Walter Palmer.
Cecil’s death caused worldwide public outcry, bringing the brutal sport of trophy hunting to the fore.
Trophy hunting is the killing of an animal for sport or pleasure in order to display part or all of their bodies as trophies.
Trophy hunters slay wild animals for recreation, displaying their ‘trophies’ – usually in the form of horns, antlers, hides or heads – as proof of their kills. Hunters often hang the animal parts in specially designed trophy rooms, also known as game rooms or gun rooms.
Sadly, many animals like Cecil are needlessly killed by trophy hunters every day. More than 336,000 trophy items from protected species were exported across the world between 2011 and 2020, according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
Among these were nearly 40,000 trophy items from African elephants, more than 7,000 from leopards, and more than 11,500 from African lions.
Born Free is opposed to the killing of any animal for sport or pleasure, and strongly refutes claims by trophy hunting proponents that their activities significantly support conservation or local communities.
Bizarrely, supporters of trophy hunting claim that killing endangered animals is an effective way of protecting them.