Under normal circumstances, the rights to shoot those lions would have been sold to big game hunters – bringing many hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy, providing livelihoods for people and boosting the wildlife conservation budget.
Instead, most likely, those lions will now have to be destroyed to no purpose. I blame Ricky Gervais.
Not just Ricky Gervais, obviously. After the world-infamous death of Cecil the Lion there was certainly no shortage of bloviating bleeding hearts announcing to anyone who would listen just how outraged they were that a beast they’d never heard of till two seconds ago had been shot for sport by a Minnesota dentist.
It’s just that Gervais, with his several million Twitter followers and his shark-toothed Hollywood presence and his (still-not-quite-totally-decayed) cultish comedy credibility, was probably the most influential of the bunch.
Well, welcome to the world of unintended consequences, Funny Little Fat Man, chubby little loser with the pug nose face. You, Gervais, must now bear partial responsibility for the senseless slaughter of 200 of those big cats you claim to care about so much.
You could, I suppose, argue that unlike those 200 common-or-garden lions Cecil was special because he had a name and was – apparently – beloved by visitors to Hwange national park because of his distinctive black mane and friendly disposition.
But I would counter that 200 nameless lions killed to no purpose is a far greater crime against nature than a single lion called Cecil dying an honourable, lucrative and productive death as a game trophy.
I also think that the kind of childish anthropomorphisation with which Gervais and his fellow celebrity bunny huggers indulge themselves takes us down a very dangerous path, as I tried to argue at the peak of the Cecil hysteria.
Let me stress at this point that I’m by no means averse to the charm of lions.
One of the earliest films I remember going to see at the cinema was Born Free. I think Simba in The Lion King is a really great kid. I have seen more lions on more safaris than anyone I know who doesn’t actually live in Africa and if ever I had to enter into a Lion Off with Ricky Gervais I would win hands down.
Read the rest at Breitbart.