published on: 31 July 2015
This week marked the tragic announcement of the killing of Cecil, the famous male Lion of Zimbabwe. He was a personal friend of the Stellenrust family and Stellenrust is actively involved in the conservation of these lions in the Hwange National Park.
After meeting Cecil for the first time (all photos taken by Kobie), Kobie van der Westhuizen initiated that Stellenrust helps to drive the protection of these Hwange lions. Kobie and Tertius met Brian Courtney of the SATIB conservation trust and decided to put up a Stellenrust Wildlife fund actively involved in the protection of wildlife across Africa, working in close relationship with Brian. If you want any more information or want to find out how you can become involved in the protection of our wildlife heritage, please email email@example.com.
Forwarding this letter to your friends and colleagues will help spread the news of Cecil and our African lions - so please do so.
Letter from a Conservationist Dentist to a Hunter Dentist
Dear Dr Palmer
I write this letter to you in reference to the brutal killing of one of my friends by you; you killed a friend I regarded as one of my best friends.
I had the privilege of meeting Cecil, the magnificent male lion, my friend in question, while visiting the Hwange National Park at Wilderness Safari’s Little Makalolo camp. Cecil was introduced to our group as the lion that made friends with his opponent, Jericho for the protection of his pride.
You have probably also heard the saying that first impressions last. And so they did with Cecil. His utter strength and authority were intoxicating, his beauty fell beyond words and he exuded power to the extent that you felt you have met Narnia – he was not just another lion – he was the personification of the African male lion.
Our first encounter was on a buffalo kill, close to the main camping area in the Hwange park alongside his pride, his friend and his cubs. I will never forget that first impression. We met several times after, but it is still that first impression that got stuck in my mind. Our admiration for this beautiful being (not animal!), drove us to become part of Brian Courtney’s SATIB conservation trust and our winery, Stellenrust, set up its own wildlife protection fund and became donators to the anti-poaching unit conserving these beautiful lions of Zimbabwe.
Sad to say, we have failed our friend. We tried to protect him against poachers, but never realised the impact a hunter like you can have. My friend is dead Dr Palmer. Many thoughts have gone through my head in the last few days……..some outrage…………some tears…… some just bitter sadness. And I look to myself as a dentist swearing by the Oath of Hippocrates. I look to myself vouching to treat people with dignity and respect, to protect and preserve life.
And I ask myself: what oath did you swear to? Or was Cecil not human enough to fall under your oath. He had a family…….he had cubs…….he was the pride of a country and a friend to many lion conservationists.
You may have taken his life Dr Palmer, but you will never take Cecil’s legacy. Cecil has paid the ultimate price, but his blood flows over the white sands of the Kalahari – the blood that will save many lions in our lifetime and many lifetimes to come.
Dr Tertius Boshoff
Conservationist dentist (and Cecil’s Friend)
Stellenrust Wine Estate, Stellenbosch, South Africa