The media made Cecil the lion a 'hero'



Cecil's killing went largely unnoticed in the animal's native Zimbabwe. 

A local publication wrote: "It is not an overstatement that almost 99.99 percent of Zimbabweans didn’t know about this animal until Monday. Now we have just learnt, thanks to the British media, that we had Africa’s most famous lion all along, an icon!"

 Farai Sevenzo of BBC wrote: "The lion's death has not registered much with the locals". At the same time, Zimbabwean officials stated that the killing of Cecil had already caused a drop in tourism revenues. A significant drop was noted in Hwange, where the lion had lived. Many international tourists, who had planned to see the lion, had cancelled their trips. 

"This killing is a huge loss to our tourism sector that was contributing immensely to the national wealth", said Emanuel Fundira, the president of the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe. "We had a lot of people, in terms of visitors, coming in to the country to enjoy and view Cecil, so really this was a great loss," Fundira said, and that Cecil's presence was "a draw card," and compared his death to "the demise of an icon." 

The head of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, Karikoga Kaseke, said that tourism had been booming, but that Zimbabwe was now perceived as a country which was not interested in protecting and promoting animal rights, and this had also had a negative impact on the tourism sector.

Bryan Orford, a professional wildlife guide who worked in Hwange, calculates that with tourists from a single nearby lodge collectively paying U.S. $9,800 per day, the revenue generated by having Cecil's photograph taken over five days would have been greater than someone paying a one-off fee of U.S. $45,000 to hunt and kill the lion, with no hope of future revenue.

On 1 August 2015, in response to Cecil's killing, the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants along with all bow-hunting was immediately suspended in areas outside of Hwange National Park by Zimbabwe's environment minister, Honorable Oppah Muchinguri. 

"All such hunts will only be conducted if confirmed and authorised in writing by the Director-general of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, and only if accompanied by parks staff whose costs will be met by the landowner", the minister confirmed in a statement to the press. 

Government officials
Some high-level government officials publicly condemned the killing of Cecil. David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, told reporters that the United Kingdom plays "a leading role in preventing illegal wildlife trade", when he was asked about Cecil's death. His Africa Minister, Grant Shapps, described the incident as "barbaric hunting".

Zimbabwe's acting information minister, Prisca Mupfumira, when questioned about Cecil's killing, asked, "What lion?" At a press conference on 31 July 2015, Zimbabwe’s environment minister, Opa Muchinguri, said the hunter broke Zimbabwean law and needs to be held accountable. “We are appealing to the responsible authorities for his extradition to Zimbabwe".

Muchinguri said in a press release that Palmer's actions had tarnished the image of Zimbabwe and placed further strain on the relationship between Zimbabwe and the U.S. She called on all conservationists and animal lovers to provide resources to help tackle poaching and other environmental concerns in Zimbabwe. – Wikipedia

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