Former French screen legend turned animal activist Brigitte Bardot is calling on the head of the United Nations to urgently make a stand against “trophy hunting” following July’s killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe by an American dentist.
“It’s with repugnance and with tears in my eyes that I ask you to take a strong position — this is urgent!” Bardot wrote to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, according to the letter made public on Monday.
Bardot, who runs an animal protection foundation in her name, called for the “abolition” of the “scandalous sporting and recreational murder” of animals.
She said that “the impact of trophy hunting that spares no species for the pleasure of wealthy hunters who kill for play and vanity should not be minimised,” alongside poaching.
A US dentist whose pastime is trophy hunting, Walter Palmer, shot one of Zimbabwe’s most high-profile lions, a protected black-maned male named Cecil, in early July using a bow and arrow after allegedly luring it off a park. Palmer and his paid guides tracked the wounded feline and he shot it dead the next day.
As the outcry over the animal’s killing went international, Palmer, who had returned to the US, went into hiding. Zimbabwe has requested he be extradited to face charges.
The Zimbabwean hunter who organised Palmer’s $55,000 (50,000-euro) safari, Theo Bronkhorst, has been charged with failing to prevent an illegal hunt and is free on bail pending the outcome of his trial, which is to continue on September 28
In her letter, Bardot railed that “the power of money allows all rules to be broken, it also allows corruption by taking advantage of human misery”.
She claimed specialised firms catered to deep-pocketed hunters “with the complicity of private or national parks and the indulgence of certain heads of state”.