A recent headline states: Leopard Attacks Husband and Wife in South Africa. The wording of the headline suggests a leopard was unprovoked and attacked a married couple, and it has an extra emotional charge because the attack was on two people who are in a romantic, intimate relationship. Some news headlines blame animals for attacking people to get attention. This is a sensationalist and manipulative tactic that makes animals look malicious and destructive.
What truly happened was the leopard was first shot by a hunter, so the cat tried to attack him. The married couple was guiding the hunter, and the husband tried to shield the hunter from the wounded leopard. Then the leopard bit the husband instead. The leopard’s behavior was perfectly natural. It merely defended itself from a mortal threat. It was the hunter who attacked the leopard viciously, and for no good reason. The leopard is blamed for the incident however, as if it should have just rolled over and let itself be killed in order to make a hunter feel important, and have a stuffed animal trophy to mount in his home.
Trophy hunting is an outdated, barbaric practice that serves no reasonable purpose for the hunter, such as procuring food. Does anyone think the hunter would eat the leopard or doesn’t have the means to purchase his own food?
Trophy hunting is merely a bloodsport, done for a cheap thrill and results in the deaths of innocent animals who have done nothing harmful to people. One could say the husband’s actions to protect the hunter from the wounded leopard were compassionate and they were, but the whole situation was set into motion by doing something bereft of compassion. So why is that too often humans lack compassion for other species?
We see this self-centeredness even in the titles of news headlines seeking to titillate by repeating the same old inaccurate message that wild animals, especially predators, are out to get us. It is likely to be contributing to paranoia about predators which results in them being killed, though they have never attacked a human and are very unlikely to ever do so.
Hunting sometimes is not even a fair fight, because of the use of long-distance telescopic gun sights, and camouflage. The animals can’t even see the hunters because they are so far away and hiding in brush when they shoot.
Image Credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen