Dear Melissa Bachman,
The internet has been ablaze this week with the “disgusted” and “enraged” response to your tweet about killing a male lion while traveling in South Africa. Ordinarily, I’d be wary of joining in an internet-based witch hunt, but not in this case. Having spent the majority of my life with biologists, naturalists and conservationists like the acclaimed Jouberts (whom Buzzfeed’s Matt Stopera quotes as saying that “hunting a lion is the most cowardly thing you can do” (wise words)), I can’t help but point out a few details from your disgusting photo:
1. It’s daylight. Lions sleep during the day. You shot a sleeping lion? Courage, indeed.
2. Again, as Matt points out, and as anyone who has toured in Southern Africa also knows, visitors aren’t allowed on foot. If you were really within “60 yards” of a lion, you were being driven there. In car. By a guide. Who likely found the lions using GPS or radios.
3. This is not “stalking.” It is the height of cowardice. “Stalking” is what a lion does to you, at night, on foot, right before it kills you.
4. When I was a little kid, we lived among Maasai warriors in Kenya. For the Maasai, killing a male lion was the final rite of passage before adulthood. Young warriors trained their entire lives for the hunt, and when they did set out to hunt their lion, they did so alone, on foot, armed only with hand-weapons, and with bells on their feet so the lion would know they were coming. There was no honor in killing a lion without a fair fight. And when the lion population in Kenya began to be threatened by overhunting, the Maasai were some of the first to come to the lions’ protection. There is even less honor in hunting an animal already under siege.
5. One look at your Twitter account tells me all I need to know about you.
You’re a despicable human being. And to you I say the meanest thing I can think to say to anyone: like lions so much?
I hope you meet one.