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The Humanitarian Politics of Cecil the Lion

by Lauren Wallace

Two weeks ago Stephen Harper kicked off the election campaign. But it wasn’t clear if many Canadians were paying attention. Because the killing of Cecil the celebrity lion had already broken the Internet.

In case you missed it, in late July, Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, beheaded Cecil, a lion living in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. Within days of news of the murder breaking, the public’s violent backlash sent Mr. Palmer into hiding. Major airlines, including Air Canada, banned shipments of hunting trophies from Africa; a global petition demanding justice accumulated over 300,00 signatures; PETA called for the killer to be hanged to death; and, donations were made to erect a life size bronze statue of the martyr lion.