The Southern Utah Animal Alliance demonstrated at the entrance to Zion National Park as part of the worldwide rally in support of Cecil the Lion shortly after noon on Feb. 6. According to the sponsor, CompassionWorks International, rallies were held in 30 cities worldwide from Belgrade to Springdale. The main rally is being held in Las Vegas to protest the annual conference of Safari Club International, which was held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
“Springdale is an appropriate venue since Cecil was lured out of a national park and killed,” said Laurie Nelson-Barker, who helped organize the event.
Cecil the Lion gained international fame after being killed by American dentist Walter Palmer on a trophy hunt in July 2015 after being lured away Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.
“Cecil was the best-known animal in the national park and was identifiable by his black-fringed mane and a GPS tracking collar,” according to Wikipedia. “The lions in the park, including Cecil, have been studied by scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford University as part of a scientific project that has run since 1999.”
Outrage erupted worldwide over the death of Cecil, including an emotional appeal from entertainer Jimmy Kimmel where he asked, “Is it that difficult for you to get an erection that you need to kill things?” Palmer paid $50,000 to a guide in Zimbabwe to shoot and kill Cecil.
The Safari Club conference in Las Vegas featured four days of lectures on such topics as “Encouraging Women to Pull a Trigger,” “The Hidden War: Battling The Marijuana Cartels For America’s Wildlife Resources,” and “How Can You Kill Those Beautiful Animals? Words and Stories We Must Speak to Preserve Hunting.” The Safari Club expects attendance to top 20,000 and features auctions to travel to exotic places to kill Alaskan brown bears, lions, and elephants. For example, the a 10-day Alaska brown bear and black bear hunt for two hunters and two observers has a starting price of $80,500.