Activists Expose Trophy Hunter After He Paid $30K To Kill Lion

Niamh Shackleton


Activists Expose Trophy Hunter After He Paid $30K To Kill LionPA/@ExposeLion/Twitter

An American trophy hunter has been named and shamed for paying thousands of dollars to kill a lion in Zimbabwe.

Physiotherapist Phillip Smith, from Missouri, was named by activists as the killer of a 12-year-old lion named Mopane.

The animal was well loved by residents and tourists alike, and lost his life for the cost of $30,000.

It’s believed an average 15-day hunting safari costs between $30,000 and $40,000.

Lion in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe (PA)PA Images

Mopane was said to have been lured out of the protected Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe before being shot with a bow and arrow.

Smith was reportedly joined by professional hunter and guide Dennis Nyakane of South Africa hunting operator Chattaronga Safaris, Daily Star reports.

In light of Mopane’s death and the outrage that followed, Smith has been publicly named as his killer by activists known as LionExpose on Twitter.

Speaking about the heartbreak of Mopane’s death, Hannes Wessels, a former professional hunter, told The Times:

I was there in that area at the time, and there’s no doubt Mopane has gone. Nobody wants to talk about it, nor be named but it happened.

Mopane had been dominant over two prides at the time of his death.

The lion’s death comes six years after well-known lion Cecil was killed by American dentist Walter Palmer. As with Mopane’s sad fate, Cecil was also lured out of the Zimbabwe-based park.

Addressing this, Wessels added, ‘You can’t hunt in the park so they bait on the periphery. Whatever you think about hunting – and it may be unpalatable to outsiders – it keeps poachers away. Wherever hunting is not allowed, poaching soars. It is more complicated than at first sight.’

Cecil the lion (Pa)PA Images

Kitty Block, president and chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States, has since branded trophy hunting as a ‘perverse pleasure’.

She said:

The perverse pleasure some people derive from killing iconic animals brought this noble lion’s life to a tragic end. Another trophy hunter spending tens of thousands of dollars on a globe-trotting, thrill-to-kill escapade shows humanity at its worst.

Actor and comedian Ricky Gervais echoed similar sentiments last year, and also branded trophy hunting as ‘humanity at its very worst’.

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Topics: Animals, Lion, News, trophy hunting, World News


The Times and 1 other
  1. The Times

    US trophy hunter paid $30,000 to kill lion with bow and arrow

  2. Daily Star

    Trophy hunter 'exposed' by activists after 'paying £30k to kill lion with bow and arrow'

Niamh Shackleton
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