Minnesota and a Lion Named Cecil


Oppah Muchinguri

Oppah Muchinguri, Zimbabwe’s environment, water and climate minister 

by Jim Beers

Forty-two years ago I was the only US Fish and Wildlife Service Law Enforcement Officer in the greater New York City urban area.  I investigated and helped the US Attorney prosecute two complex international wildlife smuggling cases that resulted in very large fines.  They involved New York, South America, Africa, Europe and Japan.  After 30 more years with the USFWS I know wildlife laws.

Zimbabwe is a corrupt African nation ruled by courts that are simple extensions of the ruler’s will.  They are extremely race-conscious and when they overthrew the white colonial government they happily imposed land seizures and money confiscation on white residents.  Why someone named this sacred lion “Cecil”, the first name of the white “founder” of the country (Cecil Rhodes as in “Rhodesia”), is either a mystery or a wry joke.

Though poor, Zimbabweans are anxious to charge exorbitant fees to international hunters that can afford them.  The Permits and allotments to landowners are not like US licenses in that they are meant to comply with UN transport regulations to keep the cash flowing in.  Beyond that there is both uncertainty and the wishes of the rulers (Mugabe routinely ignores the laws and even eats “baby” elephant as a tasty morsel) and the eagerness of native people to eat and otherwise utilize all animals so taken.

The media is lauding the lady “environment, water and climate minister”, calling for the extradition of a Minnesota dentist before there are any charges of wrongdoing as she, much like the current lady Prosecutor in Baltimore, spouts tales of “luring” a lion and shooting the lion with an arrow as “hurting Zimbabwe’s image”.

Baiting (i.e. “luring”) lions is the standard way of shooting one.  If archers cannot shoot a lion with an arrow, why was the bow allowed to be imported or available to an American with a “license” (such as they are) to kill a lion?

If “Cecil” was so precious, why was any lion hunting permitted anywhere that “Cecil” might roam?  Large animals often do not drop dead and are tracked and killed just as was “Cecil”.

Note to Americans, our Constitution does not authorize government, even so supposedly powerful an entity as the USFWS, to extradite citizens merely because some foreign nation, much less a legal pit like Zimbabwe, wants to “arrest” or “extradite” a US citizen simply so some lady flak for a dictator can make him “accountable”.

The media is only adding to the theatrical circus with the mention of severing the head of the lion (how else to mount it?)  Despite how all this is grist for the anti-hunting/gun, animal worship crowd, Americans should wait until charges are “specified” and the full story from the paid guides (if they dare tell the truth in a dictatorship) is made known.



If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others.  Thanks.

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. 

He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. 

He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC.  He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority.  He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting.  You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to:   jimbeers7@comcast.net

[Editor’s Note: More Information on Cecil]