Humans sometimes don’t act in their best interests. Such was the case in Botswana two years ago, when hunting of big game was banned.

Animal rights activists were ecstatic. The lions and elephants celebrated in their own way.

Writes Norimitsu Onishi of The New York Times: “Lions have been coming out of the surrounding bush … to snatch goats and donkeys from the heart of [the Sankuyo village] on the edge of one of Africa’s great inland deltas. Elephants, too, are becoming frequent, unwelcome visitors, gobbling up the beans, maize and watermelons that took farmers months to grow.”

Who could have seen that coming? Uh, the villagers who sold guide services to hunters, mainly wealthy Americans, some of whom practice dentistry. That money is gone, and it didn’t take my cousins the big cats much time to figure out time-tested conservation practices had been abandoned in the “Wild Kingdom” (sponsored by Mutual of Omaha, “the people who pay.”)

Mr. Onishi again: “Government officials and conservationists in most African countries staunchly support trophy hunting, including Zambia, which is going back to hunting after a short-lived suspension.”

Zambia’s minister of tourism, Jean Kapata, has a message for the outraged Cecil the Lion crowd: “Zambia has always hunted from time immemorial. Zambia is a sovereign nation, and therefore people should respect the rules we have in our country.”

And a parting shot: “In Africa, a human being is more important than an animal. I don’t know about the Western world.”

A reincarnation of the original “Wild Kingdom” still runs on my favorite channel, Animal Planet. The host of the original series, Marlin Perkins, passed away in 1986 at 81.

A link to Mr. Onishi’s story: http://tinyurl.com/nuevxmp

And to a recent Mouser’s View that discussed Cecil costumes available for Halloween: http://tinyurl.com/q4f9tn7

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