A veterinarian who posed next to a lion he had killed recently died after falling off a 100-foot ravine while shooting birds. For a story like this, one would probably assume that we would take some sort of almost celebratory stance in the face of a hunter facing karma, but we’re kinda not going to go there. A man is dead, lions are being hunted for trinkets and the entire thing is pretty much awful.

Luciano Ponzetto is a veterinarian who received massive backlash after posting this photo.

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After posting the photo of him with the lion, Ponzetto was forced to step down as medical director of a kennel business, even though he felt he “did nothing wrong.” Sadly, this is a fallacy that many trophy hunters believe, but it doesn’t change the fact that African lions are highly endangered in the wild. According to a report in National Geographic, “Approximately 600 lions are killed every year on trophy hunts, including lions in populations that are already declining from other threats.” It is easy for trophy hunters to see their kill as “just one animal,” but that fails to recognize that these animals exist in an ecosystem. Adult male lions are the favorite of hunters because of their prowess, but males play a very important role in stabilizing the pride. Reportedly, the death of a male lion, “can lead to more lion deaths as outside males compete to take over the pride.”

Further, the practice of “canned” hunting has gained traction in the past few decades. Here, lions are bred in captivity for the sole purpose of being auctioned off to trophy hunters who gun them down within the safety of an enclosure that animals have no hope of escaping from. According to Born Free USA’s Adam Roberts, despite the fact that lions have experienced a rate of decline of 50 percent in the past three generations, the trade in lions continues to rise — from 5,418 declared exports of lion specimens from 2003-2007 to 9,400 from 2008-2013 — elevating the threat that international trade represents for the species. With this in mind, it is never okay to glorify the killing of a lion for the sake of our entertainment.

While we can definitely understand the sentiments of those who regard Ponzetto, and those like him, with fury, we don’t celebrate anyone’s death (human or animal) and see the entire situation as utterly senseless. Ponzetto passed away after falling down a 100-foot ravine while shooting birds. Yes, it might seem karma-tic, but the fact is, he should have never been in that situation in the first place. We have to ask ourselves if the “thrill of the hunt” is really worth risking your own life – while deliberately taking that of another.

Here’s a novel concept that can keep this situation from happening in the future. Let’s leave the wildlife alone. Instead of going to shoot big game, why not take a trip to simply appreciate these animals in their natural state? You can also support organizations like the World Society for the Protection of Animals and the World Wildlife Fund who are working towards conservation – without killing.


All Image Source: The Sun