Mastodons, Mammoths, Smilodons, and Cecil

Pleistocene Extinction

Ten thousand years ago the Pleistocene epoch ended after a good long run, long even for geologic time. Two and a half million years is nothing to sneeze at. (I’m tempted to turn that into some kind of mastodon joke, the sneezes of proboscideans being, well… nothing to sneeze at. Sorry.) So, the Pleistocene ended and across the western hemisphere the elephant ancestors and saber toothed tigers, and giant beavers and short faced skunks… a plethora of Pleistocene critters all vanished from the earth. We understand this tragedy to be the result of a fateful combination of human hunting pressure, and massive rapid climate change, aggravated perhaps by the rapid spread of highly infectious diseases.

Today we’ve all been exposed to another vector, a reminder that we live in times more parlous than those at the dawn of our current era when so many big animals died. Cecil the Lion is dead, a sentient creature, a thirteen year old sentient creature protected in a natural park in Africa for his entire life brutally slaughtered by a dentist from Minnesota, a man who says he kills large animals because he “doesn’t have a golf game.” Cecil is the victim of a man whose sense of entitlement and privilege threatens us all, a man who needs to be brought up short by society. The government of Zimbabwe has indicated that they want this chicken-shit bwana back for prosecution. If the US Justice Department fails to cooperate with the extradition, if Zimbabwe fails to prosecute the poacher to the maximum extent possible, then there is no justice.

There are seven billion people on the planet and we need to follow the rules if we intend to get through the next twenty years without being trampled by the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

There’s a petition to visit the wrath of all sentient life on the self absorbed asshole who caused Cecil to suffer for forty hours with a poorly placed arrow before killing him and attempting to hide the evidence of the crime by scattering Cecil’s remains and destroying his radio collar. Sign here for justice.

Posted in Environment, Global Concern, Justice
3 comments on “Mastodons, Mammoths, Smilodons, and Cecil
  1. Frank Paynter says:

    Let me add this comment to perhaps make my post more coherent, or at least understandable:

    There’s an interesting pattern of intersectionality among class struggle (the high income privileged dentist/great white hunter), a common respect for wildlife in an age of climate change and human population explosion that echoes the Pleistocene extinction, and an urge for justice… will the US extradite the dentist to Zimbabwe? Will Zimbabwe demand extradition? It’s a complex story-of-the-day worth reflecting on in dimensions larger than bourgeois privilege and animal cruelty. We need to bring this guy to justice and to understand why what he did was a crime. We need to lionize (sorry) Cecil, and find a measure of restorative justice for his community, his pride, his park, and the people who live in Zimbabwe.

  2. Frank Paynter says:

    Also, since I’m a tasteless boor, I thought I should share the thought that Dr. Palmer has won the title of America’s Smilodontist! Helping to advance extinction and environmental degradation because he doesn’t play golf well.

  3. Doug Alder says:

    Signed. Personally I hope he’s extradited, found guilty then spends the rest of his sorry assed existence in the worst prison in Zimbabwe. Well that or turned loose near Cecil’s pride, naked, no weapons or tools and smeared with fresh blood.

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