Outraged animal lovers and conservationists petitioning the White House to extradite big-game hunter Walter Palmer to Zimbabwe for killing Cecil the lion may be unaware the the country’s president, Robert Mugabe, reportedly ate baby elephant meat during his lavish 91st birthday party in late February.
A deceased lion was also allegedly involved in those festivities, a bash that cost about $1 million and was staged at a luxury resort with thousands of party guests in attendance.
“Held a week after his birthday, the celebrations were described as ‘totally unethical’ by wildlife conservationists, and ‘obscene’ by members of the opposition,” The Independent of London reported.
Palmer, a Minneapolis dentist, has gone into hiding as a result of the national and international outrage over the death of the beloved Cecil the lion.
A separate Care2 petition addressed to Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s leader since 1987, demands justice for Cecil the lion, formerly a resident of Hwange National Park wildlife reserve, by calling upon the president “to stop issuing hunting permits that kill endangered animals.” The petition has about 860,000 signatures as of this writing.
Mugabe has long been accused of corruption, violently suppressing dissent, and vote fraud in the country formerly known as Rhodesia, resulting in sanctions imposed by the U.S. and other countries. The long-time Zimbabwe president “is widely criticized for his human rights record, disastrous economic policies and impoverished citizenry,” the Washington Post explained.
Although an earlier account indicated that elephant meat was not actually on the Mugabe birthday menu after all, multiple news sources indicated otherwise.
According to the Los Angeles Times, a landowner shot an aggressive young bull elephant and cut it up as a gift for Mugabe’s birthday feast.
“[The landowner], whose lifelong dream is to meet Mugabe, said his main motive for donating the elephants, as well as a lion trophy, a crocodile trophy and a small herd of live impala, was gratitude. He’s a beneficiary of Mugabe’s land reform policy, a program that saw white farmers ousted from their holdings without compensation after 2000.”
Added the Washington Post, “The elephant wasn’t enough, though. [The landowner] also submitted for mass consumption two buffaloes, two sables, and five impalas. Then there was the lion, shot and mounted. And the crocodile, shot and mounted.”
These things only happen in Africa»» "Mugabe ate a whole zoo for his birthday" http://t.co/RSJjh2KE2f
— Kelvin (@wachirahkelvin) March 3, 2015
A Time magazine report suggests that policies and conditions in Zimbabwe under the Mugabe regime may have contributed to the tragic death of Cecil the lion.
“Zimbabwe was once celebrated as the ‘breadbasket of Africa,’ whose fertile earth supplied the world with abundant tobacco, corn, and wheat. Today, 76 percent of its rural population lives in abject poverty, dependent on foreign food aid and desperate measures — like the poaching of the wildlife that inhabits its otherwise barren lands, or rendering assistance to those who want to hunt or poach.”
Under the circumstances, do you think the Robert Mugabe government is in a position to render justice for Cecil the lion for his death at the hands of Walter Palmer?
[image via Twitter]