The Cecil the lion story was simply a fundraiser for a Zimbabwean NGO. That’s the conclusion of big game hunter Ron Thomson, who has spoken up about the story to Fieldsports News. He calls out the lies during the 2015 scandal, including the revelation that the lion was enticed out of Hwange National Park in order to be shot.
Big game hunter Walter Palmer bowhunted the 13-year-old lion with a valid hunting permit. The Zimbabwean authorities did not charge him with any crime. At home in the USA, animal rights extremists vandalised his house with anti-hunting messages. Two Zimbabweans, the hunting guide and the owner of the farm where the hunt took place, went to court where charges against them for illegal hunting were dismissed.
The killing resulted in international media attention, with animal rights extremists stirring up outrage among politicians and celebrities. Due to the level of media attention and the negative reporting about the killing of Cecil, significantly fewer US hunters came to Zimbabwe in the years that followed. This led to the country suffering high financial losses and a lion overpopulation. Locals solved the latter problem by killing lions themselves.