Donald Trump defending sons’ sport killing of exotic African animals may finally doom billionaire blowhard’s campaign

Brothers Donald Trump, Jr. (l.) and Eric Trump (r.) are pictured with a leopard that they killed on their trip to Zimbabwe. And now their father is defending them, which may doom his presidential Legends

Brothers Donald Trump, Jr. (l.) and Eric Trump (r.) are pictured with a leopard that they killed on their trip to Zimbabwe. And now their father is defending them, which may doom his presidential campaign.

Bad press has so far been like fertilizer to Donald Trump’s popularity. But his defense of his sons’ sport of slaughtering exotic African animals could be the kill shot to his presidential aspirations now that possibly both Cecil the lion and his brother Jericho have been slaughtered.G


In case you don’t know, the Trump boys went on a kill safari in 2012, and proudly posed with the African leopard and water buffalo they had slaughtered. Another photo shows them laughing beside a noose from which hangs an alligator. Does it get worse than two great white hunters and an animal noose in Africa?


There’s even the horrific photo of Donald Jr. smiling while holding the bloody, severed tail of, yes, the elephant he shot.

This elephant slaughter “sport” they love, is, surprisingly even more prolific than the barbarism of lion killing.


Take a wild guess at the number of elephants killed by terrorists (yes, terrorists) — hunters and poachers in Africa every day.

The shocking truth is that 96 African elephants are killed each day by not just poachers, but by scum terrorists like Joseph Kony and his “Lord’s Resistance Army.”

Donald Trump, Jr. is pictured holding the tail of an elephant he shot. Legends

Donald Trump, Jr. is pictured holding the tail of an elephant he shot.

These vicious beasts trade the ivory from the gentle beasts in exchange for “bush currency” to buy guns and weapons. Terror supporting terror. According to John Calvelli, executive vice president of the Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the NYC zoos and aquariums as well as those in 60 other countries, “Thirty-five thousand forest elephants a year — one every 15 minutes — are killed in Africa, which means they will become extinct in our lifetimes. The numbers have gone from 1.2 million elephants in Africa in 1980 to fewer than 400,000 now.”


And life is as dangerous for the park rangers assigned to protect the beasts of the bush. One ranger is killed every three days.

Calvelli helped found “96 Elephants,” an organization whose function is to stop the killing, trafficking and demand for ivory. Last August, Gov. Cuomo made the sale of ivory illegal in New York State and a similar ban is now in effect in New Jersey.

So who are zookeepers to talk about animal rights?

France bans imports of lion hunt trophies

“We trust that France’s decision will create a domino effect within the EU
and that we will soon hear about other member states joining together to
say no [to trophies].”

Catherine Bearder, a Liberal Democrat MEP who led calls for a ban in the
summer, said was “delighted” by France’s decision and the UK should follow
its lead.

The EU’s scientific review group, which decides whether or not to blacklist
trophy imports based on the sustainability of species, met in September and
approved the continued import of lion trophies from Tanzania, Zambia and

France has banned the import of lion heads, paws and skins as hunters’
trophies, nearly four months after the killing of Zimbabwe’s most famous
lion by an American trophy hunter sparked international outrage.

In a letter to the actor and animals rights activist Brigitte Bardot,
France’s environment minister, Ségolène Royal, said that she had instructed
officials to stop issuing permits for lion trophies and was considering
stricter controls on trophies from other species.

“Following your letter and recent visits in Africa in preparation of the
climate summit in Paris, I want to let you know I have given orders to my
services to stop delivering certificates for importing lion trophies,”
Royal wrote in the letter dated 12 November.

Last month, scientists warned that lion numbers in central and western
Africa are likely to halve in the next two decades due to loss of habitat
and prey.“

Concerning other species trophies, I am in favour of a much stronger
control for hunting trophies and this issue will be discussed with all the
countries concerned and with the EU.”

In July, conservationists and MEPs called for an EU-wide ban on the import
of lion trophies following the death of Cecil the lion at the hands of a
Minnesotan dentist near one of Zimbabwe’s national parks. France is the
first EU state to implement such a ban. In March, Australia also banned
their import.

Between 2010 and the 2013, the last year for which data is available, more
than 100 such lion trophies were imported to France.

Lionaid, a UK-based charity that is calling for the UK to follow suit with
a ban on lion trophy imports, said it was “overjoyed” by the move.

A spokeswoman said: “Within the EU, France was a major importer of such
trophies and we expect that wild lions will now find themselves safer
without the presence of French trophy hunters.

The Psychology and Thrill of Trophy Hunting: Is it Criminal?

“Still, the need to hurt animals that some children feel doesn’t explain why some adults hunt and kill large, and often dangerous (link is external), animals that they have no intention of eating. I have searched the psychology literature and, while there’s a lot of conjecture about what it means, the fact that very little research exists to support any assumptions makes reaching an understanding of this behaviour very difficult.”  (Xanthe Mallett (link is external), 2015)

Kids ask the darndest questions

A few years ago a youngster told me a story about a murder in his neighborhood in Boulder, Colorado, my hometown. I hadn’t heard about it so I asked him for more information and he told me about a cougar who had been murdered because this magnificent cat was living down the block from him. I instantly said something like, “Animals can’t be murdered,” and he looked at me – stared me straight in the eyes – and innocently but forcefully asked, “Why not?” I realized that I wasn’t going to “win” this discussion nor get out of it easily or cleanly, and his mother was calling him home, so I said that’s the way it is for now in the legal system, and, not unexpectedly, he once again asked, “Why?”

I was at a loss to say more given the time constraints and given the fact that I really wanted to let him know that I thought animals could indeed be murdered.” But, that would have made his mother angry and we both would have missed dinner. So, I told him that he really had made an impression on me, I thanked him for asking “Why, why, why,” and that I’d continue to think about this, for I do believe that killing an animal is murder (please also see (link is external)) when an animal is killed in the same manner for which it is declared that a human has been murdered. And, sanitizing the killing by calling it culling, dispatching, or euthanizing doesn’t really do the job.

I haven’t thought much about this conversation, although I have pondered many times why the word “murder” is reserved for human animals and categorically excludes nonhuman animals (animals). And, some recent events have led me to write this brief essay about why the use of the word “murder” should be broadened to include other animals and why, for example, “trophy hunting” is really “trophy murder.”

I’m sure many people will likely weigh in on this topic and many already have (link is external). There also are some interesting exchanges at where the question, “Is killing an animal murder? (link is external)” was raised. As of today, 58% of the respondents voted “yes” and 42% voted “no.” In addition, “Americans are turning thumbs down on trophy hunting by a two-to-one margin (link is external). Sixty-four percent of U.S. voters polled told the Humane Society of the United States that they also oppose trophy hunting in the United States.”

Definitions of murder invariably exclude nonhumans (link is external).  However, I can’t see any good reason other than “that’s the way it is.” Reasons given include misleading claims that animals don’t feel pain, they aren’t smart, or they don’t display what philosophers call agency (link is external), loosely put as the ability to make free choices and to act independently and to adapt in different environments. Furthermore, “All jurisdictions require that the victim be a natural person (link is external); that is, a human being who was still alive before being murdered. In other words, under the law one cannot murder a corpse, a corporation, a non-human animal, or any other non-human organism such as a plant or bacterium.”

The comments for the above debate make for interesting reading. One noted, “I love animals and have several pets but no killing animals for food is not murder. Killing animals for food is not murder because they do not have the ability to speak or have complex thoughts. For example, lets say there is a tiger hat is hungry and one of you who think its murder to kill an animal in a cage. That tiger would not hesitate to eat you so I say why can’t we do the same.” Another reader wrote, “Cruelty to animals is wrong, but it is not murder. People kill animals for a wide variety of reasons. Some of these reasons may be seen as cruel by different people: for example, some feel that killing animals for food is cruel, while others see it as a necessary evil, and some (like those who enjoy hunting) even take pleasure in it. However, even cruelty to animals does not rise to the level of “murder” as such.”

And, we also read, “(Non human) Animals are also sentient, conscious beings who feel pain and emotion If killing animals isn’t murder (because they are not people, or intelligent, or capable to express their fear, etc…) we should apply the same logic to humans who are handicapped or mentally retarded. No human ceases to be an animal simply because they are intelligent, we are merely perpetuating a sort of speciesism if we exclude unintelligent or unresponsive humans.”

These and other comments raise many of the issues that are central to arguing for using the word “murder” when an animal is involved in situations when it used for humans, and that laws need to be changed to reflect this.

A few recent events have made many others and me revisit the selective and speciesist use of the word “murder.” A few weeks ago a dog was killed and skinned in my hometown and once again, someone asked me if this could be classified as murder. Animals in zoos also are killed rather often (link is external) even if they are healthy and could live longer lives. Marius, an otherwise healthy young giraffe, was killed in the Copenhagen zoo in February 2014 (link is external)because he didn’t fit into their breeding program. Zoo administrators said he was euthanized, but of course this wasn’t a mercy killing but what I call “zoothanasia.” And, I also noted it could well be called murder.

Is trophy hunting really trophy murder? Cecil the lion and the recent killing of the largest African elephant in almost thirty years

“As for trophy hunting, I think it is probably the kind of animal killing that most resembles murder – murder in the first degree. It is done with planning (premeditation) and without provocation or biological justification. The animals are entirely innocent creatures killed only for ego-gratification and fun. It’s time we began to see this practice as akin to murder.” Kirk Robinson (executive director of the Western Wildlife Conservancy (link is external), comment on this essay)

Trophy hunting in the wild and in places where animals are bred and held captive for the purpose of being killed (canned hunting), also makes the news especially when a charismatic animal is slaughtered. Basically, trophy hunting is a gratuitously violent act that often results in dismemberment and taking the head as a “trophy.

This past summer the world learned about, and millions were outraged by, the killing of Cecil (link is external), a magnificent lion, by a Minnesota dentist under the guise that it served some conservation purpose. Cecil’s undoing was premeditated, he hadn’t done anything to deserve being killed, and the dentist paid a royal sum to be allowed to kill him. And, this week, we’ve learned that a magnificent elephant killed in Zimbabwe for fun was the biggest killed in Africa for almost 30 years (link is external) (please also see (link is external)).

There are many, far too many, examples of trophy hunting accompanied by pictures of happy hunters (link is external). Indeed, recreational sport hunting that doesn’t involve long-distance travel or huge sums of money can also be called murder. And, sport hunting is often glorified. Colorado has “hug a hunter” and “hug an angler” campaigns because Colorado Parks and Wildlife claim that hunting is a conservation tool (but please see (link is external)). We read, “Coloradans are proud of the wildlife (link is external)and natural beauty in Colorado. And we have hunters and anglers to thank for helping to support it. So if you love protecting Colorado and its natural beauty, go ahead and hug a hunter.” Of course, not all wildlife is valued.

Let’s get the discussion going and let’s begin by making it simple

The time has come to open the discussion about the limited use of the word “murder.” Detailed scientific research has more than amply shown that reasons for excluding animals that include their supposed lack of emotions, that they are not really sentient, and that they really don’t care what happens to them, for example, clearly don’t hold.

I’m sure there are people who are passionate on both sides of the ledger and we need to hear all voices. Attorney Steven Wise and his team (link is external), who have worked tirelessly for granting animals rights, have been focusing their attention on chimpanzees, so to begin, let’s just consider mammals. And, perhaps to get the discussion going, let’s only consider animals who are killed for trophy hunting, for sport and for fun, and exclude, for the moment, animals who are killed for our entertainment (dog- or cock-fighting), animals who are killed because they harmed, or supposedly harmed, a human(s), animals who wind up living in urban or suburban areas “dangerously” close to humans because we forced them out of their preferred and natural homes because of relentless development, animals who are killed for food or research, animals who are considered to be “pests,” animals who are “collected (link is external)” “in the name of science.” We can also limit our early discussions to animals who clearly are sentient, which includes the vast majority of animals who are killed when there is no other reason to do it other than for fun.

I’m sure readers will have a category of animals they’d like to add to the list of candidates, and this is all part of the ongoing discussion. It’s difficult, for example, to exclude companion animals who are brutalized for no reason at all, so perhaps in early discussions we can also consider them as animals for whom the word “murder” applies.

Let me strongly emphasize that this early focus is not to say that other animals shouldn’t be granted legal rights nor that they can’t be murdered. However, we’ve got to begin somewhere, so let’s begin with the clearest cases in which an animal is killed for no other reason than someone thought it would be okay to kill them, perhaps for sport, perhaps for fun, perhaps because they like the high of the thrill, or perhaps because they enjoy killing the animals by “playing predator,” but surely not in any way that could be considered playing fair.

One of my friends suggested to me that perhaps the world isn’t ready for such a discussion, but surely there are crimes against animals that fall smack into the arena of crimes that are considered to be murder when there is a human victim(s). Trophy hunting is one clear case; it is voluntary and intentional and there is no reason to engage in it other than the hunter finds it to be a form of recreation or fun. It’s often not that challenging, and surely one doesn’t have to do it.

The psychology of trophy hunting: What drives people to thrill kill?

Hunting for ‘sport’ is basically another way to describe the thrill of killing.” Graham Collier, Psychology Today

The phrase “trophy hunting” – a form of thrill killing (for example, please see (link is external)) is all about nonhumans, but gratuitous violence in the form of thrill killing also occurs in humans. When there are human victims it’s clearly considered to be aberrant and criminal behavior that rightfully is called murder. The bottom line is that anyone who thrill kills should be punished regardless of whom the victim is. And we also should keep in mind what psychologists call “the Link (link is external),” the close relationship between human-animal violence and human-human violence.

While I cannot find any formal studies of what drives trophy hunting specifically, many people have weighed in on questions of this sort (link is external). One essay called “Why we may never understand the reasons people hunt animals as ‘trophies (link is external)‘” by criminologist Dr. Xanthe Mallett (link is external) reports “Research shows increased levels of hostility (link is external) and a need for power and control are associated with poor attitudes towards animals, among men in particular.”

Dr. Mallett also writes, “Another paper (link is external)has linked personality traits of some people who hunt for sport to a different ‘triad’ of behaviours, known ominously as the ‘dark triad’. This includes narcissism (egotistical admiration of one’s own attributes, and a lack of compassion), Machiavellianism (being deceitful, cunning and manipulative) and psychopathy (lack of remorse or empathy, and prone to impulsive behaviour).”

Dr. Mallett ends her essay as follows: “And that [the lack of hard data] means we may never know why hunters are compelled to seek animal trophies for their walls. Indeed, we might be condemned just to watch and wonder about their motive and emotional capacity.” Surely, if people just want to “get out into nature” and rewild (link is external) themselves, there are better and much less harmful ways to do it. Trophy hunting also violates the tenets of compassionate conservation, namely, first do no harm and all individuals matter (please see and links therein).

What drives trophy hunting is a field rich in questions and ideas that should be of interest to many readers of Psychology Today and also practitioners.

Words count

The wide-ranging concern and condemnation of trophy hunting is not merely an animal rights or vegan perspective, but rather one grounded in concerns about respect and decency. Many people who eat and wear animals are outraged by Cecil’s demise and by the latest elephant to be killed for fun. Many of my friends say something like, “It just isn’t right,” and all the academic arguments in the world aren’t going to convince them that trophy hunting can be justified. And, hunters with whom I’ve spoken are appalled by canned and wild trophy hunting. There’s a lot going on here about which I hope to write later on.

Words count. The failure to use the word “murder” for nonhumans is due to a misleading extension of the “them” versus “us” way of thinking, one that is, or should be, long gone, and a view that ignores who other animals truly are – their cognitive and emotional lives and capacities — based on large amounts of detailed empirical research. While we surely are different from other animals, we also share many traits that make us all very similar to the magnificent animals who are routinely hunted as trophies. These shared traits are those that are used erroneously by some to separate “them” from us as if the differences are black and white, rather than shades of gray.

So, if legal systems change and recognize the fact that animals can be murdered, we can expect that crimes that count as murder will be punished accordingly, other than by shame. And, perhaps, someday I’ll be able to tell some inquisitive “annoying” kid that animals can indeed be murdered. And, I’ll also let him or her know that when people say they love animals and harm them, I always say I’m glad they don’t love me.

Note: For more on ways to stop the killing, please see Hope Ferdowsian’s “5 Ways to Stop the Killing (link is external).” The man who killed the elephant has now been identified (link is external).

Marc Bekoff’s latest books are Jasper’s Story: Saving Moon Bears (with Jill Robinson), Ignoring Nature No More: The Case for Compassionate Conservation

Paul Ryan And Friends?

Just wondering… (with the KKK-type hoods, there’s no way to know for sure)…

Newly elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan wields the speaker's gavel for the first time on Capitol Hill in Washington October 29, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron1384140_564330240283396_857016214_n

When Geraldo comes to town: KKK fight put Janesville in national spotlight – See more at:

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Marcia Nelesen
August 31, 2015
 Janesville has found itself in the national spotlight repeatedly through its history.

The hometown boy is serving his ninth term representing the First Congressional District and is also the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. He captured the world’s attention when he became the 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate.


Be the change you want to see in the world's photo.

Rainer Schorr, a real estate CEO, was named by three separate sources as the hunter who sparked global anger after killing what is thought to be the biggest elephant killed in Africa for almost 30 years.

PETA has named the man believed to be the German hunter who paid nearly £40,000 to shoot one of the largest elephants ever seen in ‪#‎Zimbabwe‬ as a property mogul in Berlin.

‪#‎PETA‬ in Germany offered a €1,000 (£730) reward to anyone who could identify the German ‪#‎hunter‬ photographed posing with the body of the huge elephant that was circulated widely online after the Telegraph revealed the animal had been killed as a ‪#‎trophy‬ on a private shoot.

In a case that echoes the furore that erupted after ‪#‎Cecil‬ the lion was shot by an American dentist, 55-year-old ‪#‎Schorr‬ paid $60,000 (£39,000) for a permit to ‪#‎hunt‬ a large bull ‪#‎elephant‬.

Hunting clubs, rhino hunter sue Delta over trophy ban

Hunting clubs and a man who paid $350,000 for a license to hunt a black rhino in Namibia have sued Delta Airlines, saying its ban on transporting some big game hunting trophies hurts conservation efforts and violates its global obligations.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Texas on Thursday, the hunter of the endangered black rhino, Corey Knowlton, along with the Dallas Safari Club, the Houston Safari Clubs and others said that the transport of the trophies is allowed under a strict systems of global permits and Delta must abide by its obligations.

“Tourist hunting revenue is the backbone of anti-poaching in Africa. If there are fewer users, as Delta’s embargo envisions, there are fewer boots on the ground and reduced security for elephant, rhino and other at-risk wildlife,” the lawsuit said.

Delta officials were not immediately available for comment.

Delta was one of three U.S. airlines in August that banned the transport of lion, leopard, elephant, rhino or buffalo killed by trophy hunters, in the fallout from the killing of Zimbabwe’s Cecil the Lion about a month earlier.

Delta is the only of the carriers with direct service between Johannesburg and the United States and its decision was seen as carrying the most weight.

There has been an international outcry against trophy hunting among animal lovers since it emerged that American dentist Walter Palmer killed Cecil, a rare black-maned lion that was a familiar sight at Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.

Eleven African countries issue lion hunting permits. Of them South Africa’s hunting industry is the biggest, worth $675 million a year, according to the Professional Hunters Association.

Hunting groups argue the money generated from the legally sanctioned hunts bolster the coffers for conservation in emerging African countries that want to use their limited finances for social programs.

In the middle of this year, the cargo division of South Africa’s national carrier, SAA, lifted an embargo that had been in place since April on the transport of legally acquired hunting trophies of African lion and elephant, rhinoceros and tiger.

“It should be remembered that hundreds of legally acquired wildlife specimens, such as hunting trophies, pass through our main ports of entry and exit monthly without incident. Penalizing an entire industry for the illegal actions of the few is not in the country’s best interests,” South Africa’s Environment Minister Edna Molewa said at the time.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Florida’s Upcoming Bear Hunt: A Tragic Failure to Apply Solid Science, Public Opinion, and Compassionate Conservation

by ,

As evidence mounts around the globe that the emerging principles of compassionate conservation can succeed in resolving conflicts between human and nonhuman animals (animals) while respecting the needs of all stakeholders (see, for example, here and here), painful examples remain of cases in which human management of shared habitats completely fails to heed the lesson that killing is neither effective nor acceptable. In Canada’s western provinces, a ruthless war is being fought against wild canids, devaluing individual lives and disrupting families and social groups. In Florida, on October 24th, a similar war is about to commence, although its hapless victim, the Florida black bear, has never killed a human, is not accused (unlike wolves) of harming other wild animals or livestock, and is a vital umbrella species of great ecological concern.


Florida’s decision to reinstate bear hunting after a 21-year hiatus ignores well-established science on human-bear conflicts and constitutes an appalling magnification of the ethical defects afflicting the killing of grizzly mother Blaze by officials at Yellowstone National Park and, more recently, the killing of Boulder Bear 317 by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. 320 black bears – 10% of the estimated statewide population – have been targeted by Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) for killing by recreational hunters (you can see the hunt plan here), a lethal response that is massively disproportionate to the concerns that have been articulated by human stakeholders about property damage and a handful of relatively minor attacks on humans. The hunt’s quota is in addition to the increasingly routine practice of killing bears who have been deemed a nuisance and to high road kill rates (282 in 2012 alone). A combined mortality rate of 20% of the entire bear population has become Florida’s ghastly new definition of sustainability, while the human population of the state increases by more than the entire bear population every single week, a fact that human policy-makers regard as a source of pride, not a cause for grave concern.

Just as there was no science to support the assertion by National Park Service staff that a grizzly bear who killed, or was suspected of killing, a human, is more likely to kill another human, there is no science to support the proposition that a large-scale slaughter of black bears will have any effect on the occurrence of human-bear conflicts. On the contrary, the available science clearly demonstrates that the only dependable way to reduce human-bear conflicts is intelligent trash management and related behavioral changes by humans. Aware of its plan’s unscientific foundation, the FWC admits that the hunt is not expected to reduce human-bear conflicts. Instead, it asserts a need to “manage” or “stabilize” the black bear population. Yet when pressed in a recent court hearing (you can see the video here) to explain why, exactly, the bear population needs to be “managed,” Dr. Thomas Eason, Director of the FWC’s Division of Habitat and Species Conservation, ultimately returned to nuisance calls, property damage, and a few cases of minor injuries to humans as problems that would be mitigated if bear population pressures were reduced. Available scientific data do not support this claim.

It’s also important to note a majority of Florida’s human citizens appear ready to embrace the concept of compassionate conservation and let the bears be. About 75% of 40,000 public comments received by the FWC opposed the bear hunt. Were we to regard societies of nonhumans as Nations, we would be forced to characterize the State’s disposition as regrettably genocidal. As recently as three years ago, the black bear was still listed as threatened. In 2012, the FWC adopted new criteria for determining threatened status, delisting 15 other species along with the black bear (which is a genetically unique subspecies). And now, before a statewide bear-population survey has even been completed, the State’s human power structure is refusing, in the most lethal possible way, to accept responsibility for the undeniable impact of relentless human encroachment into the habitats of nonhumans. The third-most populous state in the country, its metropolitan areas dominating the list of the nation’s fastest-growing areas, Florida provides a tragic case of unrepentant, deadly anthropocentrism, literally bulldozing over the right of nonhumans to exist in an environment that allows them to be who they really are.

While the killing of Florida’s black bears will be carried out by recreational hunters, the State’s policy provides ample opportunities for FWC employees to emulate the noble example set by Bryce Casavant, a Canadian conservation officer who was suspended after refusing to kill two bear cubs. Florida’s bear hunting policy, although initiated by political appointees on the Commission, was drafted by FWC staff, defended by them in court hearings, and requires their participation (in the administration of permits, at check stations, in field enforcement efforts, during data monitoring, etc.) for its implementation. Staff at any point in this chain could, individually or collectively, refuse to facilitate a wholly unwarranted and grossly unethical and bloody killing spree. Especially for the bear biologists who spent five years developing the Florida Black Bear Management Plan released at the time of delisting, a plan that explicitly eschewed hunting and called for the enhancement of bear habitats, the decision to sit back and passively witness the slaughter of this magnificent animal ought to weigh heavily on their consciences for the rest of their lives. This is a great opportunity for these scientists simply to ask people not to hunt the bears.

Instead, Dr. Eason, for one, seems to be perfectly comfortable with Floridians repeating their familiar role as super-predators, killing adult bears in their prime reproductive years, imposing far-reaching collateral damage on family units and the bear population as a whole. Although Florida’s bear hunt forbids the “harvesting” — read, killing — of mother bears with cubs, this will inevitably happen, since mothers commonly “tree” their cubs up to 200 yards away, out of sight from hunters. Black bear cubs stay with their mother for up to two years, learning essential survival skills and enjoying her protection from male bears and other animals who may harm them. As orphans, their prospects for survival are grim. And, since we know that animals experience a wide range of emotions, including joy, love, empathy, and grief, it is beyond dispute that these cubs will suffer immense emotional, as well as physical, distress. Equally repugnant is the fact that the FWC knows that some female bears will be pregnant at this time of year (just prior to denning), and there is no way for hunters to discern the gender of their target until they’re killed. Far from apologizing for these horrific effects, Dr. Eason has matter-of-factly stated that this is all part of the plan.

Compassionate conservation asks us to do no harm to individual animals, their family units, and their social groups. It expects us to finally acknowledge the extent to which we have deprived nonhumans of their right to live free from human dominance or interference, and to accept these magnificent and fascinating beings as a wondrous part of the planet we all call home. For many humans, the gateway to compassionate conservation is the recognition, amply documented by the latest science, that animals are sentient beings with rich emotional lives, aware of themselves, their surroundings, and one another. Compassionate conservation does not elevate animals to a position of primacy over humans. Rather, it seeks to level the playing field, granting animals stakeholder status equal to that of humans who have controlled — dominated — their very lives for far too long.

Florida’s mass slaughter of its black bears violates every dimension of the compassionate conservation paradigm and ignores solid science and public opinion. It’s yet another example of wildlife managers claiming they use the latest science and public opinion and then ignore what is known. For future generations of conservationists and other people who choose to live in Florida because of its fascinating and magnificent animals, Florida’s ill-planned bear hunt will serve as an exemplary case study of why it should not have been done in the first place.

This essay was written with Adam Sugalski and Richard Foster.

Zimbabwe will not charge U.S. dentist for killing Cecil the lion

“We approached the police and then the prosecutor general, and it turned out that Palmer came to Zimbabwe because all the papers were in order,” Muchinguri-Kashiri told reporters.

Muchinguri-Kashiri said Palmer would be free to visit Zimbabwe as a tourist in the future but not as a hunter. The implication was that Palmer would not be issued the permits a hunter needs.

The environment minister’s comments immediately drew the ire of the animal conservation group Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, which maintained that Palmer had committed a crime and said it planned to pursue legal action against him in the United States.

Palmer could not be reached for comment on the environment minister’s statement to reporters.

The 55-year-old dentist had closed his practice in late July after he was publicly identified as the hunter who killed Cecil, drawing widespread criticism on social media and a large demonstration by animal rights advocates at his office in Bloomington, Minnesota, a Minneapolis suburb.

The practice reopened in mid-August without him. Palmer returned to work in early September to a handful of protesters and some public support from patients.

“The fact is the law was broken,” said Johnny Rodrigues, the head of the Zimbabwe task force, which first reported news of Cecil’s killing. “We are going to get our advocates in America to actually see what they can do to bring justice to him.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has said it was investigating the killing of the lion.

Two more people still face charges related to Cecil’s killing. Both allegedly were involved in using bait to lure the lion out of his habitat in Hwange National Park so he could be killed.

Theo Bronkhorst, a professional hunter in Zimbabwe, is charged with breaching hunting rules in connection with the hunt in which Cecil was killed. A game park owner is also charged with allowing an illegal hunt. Both have denied the charges.

Bronkhorst is expected to appear on Thursday in a Hwange court where a magistrate will rule on a request by his lawyers that his indictment be quashed.

Parks officials said prosecutors would bring Cecil’s head, which the hunters took as a trophy, to court as an exhibit if the trial goes ahead.

Palmer has previously said that the hunt was legal and no one in the hunting party realized the targeted lion was Cecil, a well-known tourist attraction in the park.

Wildlife hunting, which earned $45 million last year, is an important source of money for Zimbabwe, which is still recovering from a catastrophic recession between 1999-2008.

Zimbabwe will not charge American dentist Walter Palmer for killing its most prized lion in July because he had obtained legal authority to conduct the hunt, a cabinet minister said on Monday.

Palmer, a lifelong big-game hunter from Minnesota, stoked a global controversy when he killed Cecil, a rare black-maned lion, with a bow and arrow outside Hwange National Park in Western Zimbabwe.

But Palmer’s hunting papers were in order, Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said on Monday. Consequently, he could not be charged.

“We approached the police and then the Prosecutor General, and it turned out that Palmer came to Zimbabwe because all the papers were in order,” Muchinguri-Kashiri told reporters.

Dentist Walter Palmer, who returned to his practice, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, in Bloomington, Minn., arrives back to his office following a lunch break.© AP Photo/Jim Mone Dentist Walter Palmer, who returned to his practice, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, in Bloomington, Minn., arrives back to his office following a lunch break. Muchinguri Kashiri said Palmer was free to visit Zimbabwe as a tourist but not as a hunter. The implication was he would not be issued the permits a hunter needs.

Two more people still face charges related to Cecil’s killing. Both allegedly were involved in using bait to lure Cecil out of his habitat in Hwange National Park so he could be killed.

Theo Bronkhorst, a professional hunter in Zimbabwe, is charged with breaching hunting rules in connection with the hunt in which Cecil was killed. A game park owner is also charged with allowing an illegal hunt. Both have denied the charges.

Bronkhorst is expected to appear in a Hwange court on Thursday where a magistrate will rule on a request by his lawyers that his indictment be quashed.

Palmer, 55, has previously said that the hunt was legal and no one in the hunting party realized the targeted lion was Cecil, a well-known tourist attraction in the park.

Palmer could not be reached immediately for comment on the environment minister’s statement to reporters. (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe, additional reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by James Macharia)