Can Zoos Or Museums Be Friends with Hunters?

The fallout from the death of Cecil the Lion continues to reverberate throughout the world as organizations and people question their connections to hunting. Sarah Offin and Carolyn Kury de Castillo of Global News in Canada report that some are questioning the ties between the Safari Club and the Calgary Zoo. The Safari Club is a world-wide organization of people devoted to big game hunting-- one of whom is Walter Palmer, the dentist who shot Cecil-- and the local Calgary branch is planning to have a dinner in April 2016 at the Calgary Zoo. 

Should the Zoo play host to an organization devoted to killing animals? In a statement, the Zoo said:

“The Calgary Zoo does not have a relationship with Safari Club International. We are renting space in one of our venues to the Calgary Chapter of Safari Club International for their yearly fundraiser. As a public facility, we are open to all walks of life, industries, religions, and cultures; we do not discriminate against who can rent or attend events at our facilities.”

The rental fees are a big source of income for the zoo and without them they would need to raise admissions prices or cut animals. Would the animals die? Well, they would probably be sold to other zoos but there's no doubt that some of the older animals might die prematurely. 

The irony is that hunting groups are some of the biggest supporters of building and maintaining natural park lands for species to thrive. Duck hunters work to preserve wet lands. Fishermen fight to protect streams and lakes. The Zoo and the Safari Club have more in common than many groups. 


(Photo of Cecil in Hwange National Park from Flickr.)

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