On his show, Jimmy Kimmel Live! Tuesday night, Jimmy Kimmel talked about Cecil the lion's death, and, though he got in some great jokes about just how awful Americans can be, he didn't make the issue all fun and games. Kimmel even choked up during the end of the episode and asked viewers to donate to the research organization that was tracking Cecil a part of a conservation project. The fact that Kimmel, a usually light-hearted host, got visibly upset over Cecil's death should speak to just how horrible of a tragedy it really is.
Cecil was a 13-year-old black mane lion who lived in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe and was a local favorite all across Africa. Cecil was killed by Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota who officials say paid between $50,000 and $55,000 for the hunt to kill the lion, according to CNN. Two Zimbabweans, Theo Bronchorst, a professional hunter, and Honest Trymore Ndlovu, a land owner, have already been arrested for their part in the hunt, which involved luring Cecil out of the national park, where hunting is illegal, and letting Palmer shoot him with a bow and arrow. Unfortunately, though, Cecil didn't die when Palmer shot him, so the hunters chased him down for another 40 hours until they shot him with a gun.
Palmer has since since out a statement where he said, to his knowledge, everything about the trip was legal and properly handled, and that he "relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt," according to CNN. Kimmel said, sure, maybe this is true, but "why would a human being feel compelled to [shoot a lion]?":
How is that fun? Is it that difficult for you to get an erection that you need to kill things that are stronger than you? If that's the case, they have a pill for that, it works great. Just stay home and swallow it and you save yourself a lifetime of being the most hated man in America who never advertised Jell-O pudding on television.
Kimmel said he's often fine with hunting when the animal is used for food or when it keeps populations from growing out of control, but he definitely isn't OK with what Palmer did:
If you're some a-hole dentist who wants a lion's head over the fireplace in his man cave so his douchebag buddies can gather around it and drink scotch and tell him how awesome he is, that's just vomitous.
Then, Kimmel showed Palmer posing next to a variety of animals that he apparently shot, which include a bear, another lion, a leopard, and a rhino (which are also seriously endangered). Kimmel said that in 2008 Palmer was convicted of a felony for lying about where he shot a bear, and he received a year of probation:
He killed like half of Noah's ark.
Kimmel said that some people are calling for a "witch hunt" of Palmer, and that he doesn't think that's the best way to respond. Instead, Kimmel said it's important to have some good come out of the tragedy, and he encouraged viewers to donate to the research organization that was tracking Cecil. Kimmel became visibly upset when he asked viewers to donate, capturing just how sad Cecil's death really is:
Make a donation ... At the very least, maybe we can show that not all Americans are like this jack hole here — this "top dentist."
Images: Jimmy Kimmel Live!/YouTube