Cecil the lion was killed by an American hunter in Zimbabwe earlier this month. Authorities say the killing was illegal, as Cecil, who was part of a research project and wore a GPS collar, was lured out of a protected national park.
He was injured by a crossbow then shot with a gun about 40 hours later before being beheaded and skinned, according to the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force. The American hunter says he paid for the hunt, but did not know the act was illegal. The beloved lion’s death has enraged many, and spurred conversation about big game hunting and its role in Africa.
Several listeners of The Michael Smerconish Program on POTUS called in to share their own experiences. Hear from Craig, who biked across Zimbabwe and spent time in this preserve; Elizabeth, who lived in Kenya and has been on several safaris; and John, who worked on a wildlife ranch in Kenya and travelled to Zimbabwe. While everyone mourns Cecil and is horrified by this story, many — including these callers and Michael himself — struggle with the wider ethical questions about hunting for sport.