Late last year, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) added the African lion to the endangered species list, a move that is likely to reduce the number of Americans hunting big game trophies in Africa. The move was cheered by activists still outraged by the death of Cecil, the research lion killed last summer in Zimbabwe. If you completed the “Target: Big Game Hunting” hot topic last fall, you should be wondering if the listing is really anything to cheer about.
For an update on the likely effect of the FWS decision on both trophy hunting and conservation, see “After Cecil Uproar, the US Lists Lions as Endangered – But Will It Help the King of Beasts?” a commentary in National Review by Shawn Reagan at PERC, the Property and Environment Research Center, in Bozeman, MT.
|People all over the world reacted in sadness, anger, and outrage to the news that Cecil, a magnificent lion studied by researchers and beloved by tourists, had been killed by a trophy hunter in Zimbabwe. The vivid images of Cecil’s life and death sparked protests and calls for action, from demands for prosecution and punishment of the hunters involved to campaigns for international bans on big game hunting.
While we can probably easily agree that feelings of indignation and outrage over Cecil’s death aren’t surprising or even inappropriate, it’s not as easy to arrive at a consensus about what actions are appropriate in response.
What’s best isn’t immediately apparent. Part of the problem, it turns out (as it so often does), is that what seems a clear and straightforward story is really a complex web of many stories. That makes figuring out the appropriate response to Cecil’s death harder than just acting out our feelings. The issues range from the practical questions of determining the facts and applying the law, to the higher order questions about ethics and goals, and how to craft policies that will promote the outcomes we desire.
|Target: Big Game Hunting (Students)
|Target: Big Game Hunting (Teacher Guide)
The FTE thanks Dianna Miller, Lead Teacher – AP Social Studies, Florida Virtual School in Orlando, Florida, for the idea, design, and original draft of this Hot Topic. Ms. Miller’s lesson was edited, with permission, by FTE staff and any errors are theirs, not hers. (Questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.)