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One famous dead lion killing Zimbabwe’s economy, conservation efforts

File-This Aug. 6, 2015, file photo shows a lion named Tommy in the Hwange National Park where Cecil the Lion was killed about 700 kilometres south west of Harare, Zimbabwe. The Obama administration is expected to extend Endangered Species Act protections for two breeds of lions, in response to a large decline in their numbers in Africa over the past two decades. The listings are to be announced Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, and include an order that appears to touch on circumstances surrounding the killing of a well-known lion named Cecil in Zimbabwe earlier this year. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File)

Do you remember Walter Palmer?

No? Are you sure? What if I mention Cecil the Lion?

Ahhh, THAT Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who was run into hiding after word got around that he shot Cecil while on a hunt in Zimbabwe.

My initial thoughts to the story can be found here. In a nutshell, I told everyone to get a grip.

Now that the dust has settled and everyone that was screaming has found other things to scream about, what has happened to lion hunting in Zimbabwe?

The African country is experiencing a new multi-nation phenomena they have dubbed “The Cecil Effect.”

Let me explain. I will start with our great nation, because, well, ‘Murica.

The fear of Palmer-style backlash has caused many big game hunters to cancel their trips to Zimbabwe. Not only that, but the Obama administration has threatened to stop any hunter from bringing their trophy back to U.S. soil.

Meanwhile, in Zimbabwe, they have a lot of new problems. Most of those problems come with large manes and really sharp teeth: The country is experiencing an overpopulation of lions in its preserves.

Officials are now scrambling to figure out how to cull (that means eliminate) nearly 200 lions in order to maintain proper conservation levels. Those 200 lions would likely have been taken by trophy hunters.

Prior to the Cecil circus, hunters were paying around $50,000 for each hunt. Hunting tourism is a HUGE part of Zimbabwe’s economy and the driving force in funding their conservation efforts.

Fact is, culling is a large part of conserving a species and maintaining a proper balance in the system. Sportsmen have been a major part of this process of decades.

It’s sad because a small group of people decided to freak out before doing any homework, and an economy is suffering and conservation efforts to maintain proper numbers of this majestic animal are unraveling before our eyes.

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