Saturday, August 1, 2015

Cecil the Lion and Perspective

Above is a photograph of Cecil the lion, once the best-known lion in Zimbabwe.  He had a name and a distinctive bi-colored mane, and animal scientists had fitted him with a tracking device that allowed them to learn about his habits and movements.

We all know that an American hunter lured Cecil out of a wildlife refuge, maimed him with an arrow and finally killed Cecil on July 1.

People are very interested in Cecil and outraged about his death. A Google search of "Cecil the lion," just now came up with 81.4 million hits.  As of this afternoon, three petitions urging prosecution of the hunter or his extradition or tougher curbs on wild animal hunts have attracted more than 250,000 signatures (or sign-ins, or whatever).  Most petitions on the site get the support of a few hundred to a few thousand people.  

Understandably, American are furious with the hunter, who has gone into hiding.  Here are some who gathered outside his Minnesota dental office to give him a piece of their mind..

I understand the anger.  I strongly oppose the hunting and killing of endangered species.  In Africa, the endangered mammals include gazelles, cheetahs, rhinoceroses, lions, leopards, zebras, hyenas, chimpanzees and gorillas.  It disturbs me that many of these animals are near extinction.  

Meanwhile in Nigeria

On July 1 and 2, around the time Cecil the lion died, militants killed 145 people in attacks on mosques in Kukawa, Nigeria.  

On July 5, 69 people died in two Nigerian cities, 57 in bombings.  The others died during rampages that left 32 churches and 300 houses destroyed by fire.

On July 7, a suicide bomber killed 25 people outside a government building in Zaria, Nigeria.

On July 10, militants raided a Nigerian village and killed 11 people.  The group raided three other villages and slit the throats or shot dead 43 others, and also burned an uncounted number of houses.

On July 11, a bomb killed four people outside a government building in Maiduguri, Nigeria.  

On July 15, 33 or more peopled were killed in three attacks in Nigeria's Borno State.

On July 17 and 18, suicide bombers killed at least 64 people in Gombe and Damaturu, Nigeria.

On July 26, a "mentally handicapped" suicide bomber killed at least 15 people at the entrance to a crowded market in Damaturu, Nigeria.

On July 31, "about 10" people were killed by a suicide bomber in a market in Maiduguri, Nigeria.  A month earlier, another bomb at the same market killed 20 people.

Many people were injured in these attacks, some of them seriously.  The death counts probably are low.

Boko Haram is credited, if you can call it that, with all the killings, which took place in Northeast Nigeria.  The pace of the violence began to pick up in May, after the country elected a new president who vowed to crack down on Boko Haram.  It shows no sign of slowing.

The lion-killing story is interesting news, but so is what is happening in Nigeria.

Google reports that that Cecil has attracted 16 times as much coverage as the carnage in Nigeria this month.

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