Sir Richard Branson has blogged his views on the slaying of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe last week.

“The senseless and brutal killing of the Zimbabwean lion affectionately known as Cecil, by a US hunter two weeks ago, triggered understandable global outrage, far beyond the wildlife conservation community,” he wrote. "While I’m not a fan of the social media witch hunt that followed Cecil’s death, I know I’m not alone in wondering what prompts and motivates ordinary people to hunt and kill wildlife with such maddening joy and pride.

“We’ve now learned that Cecil’s killer payed $55,000 for his hunt. Those defending trophy hunting are eager to point out that these huge sums benefit local communities, support conservation efforts and are part of effective wildlife management. It’s hard to see those benefits. Research suggests that very little – about three per cent – of the fees paid, by (mostly) foreign hunters in countries that allow big game hunting, reaches the local community.

“A large number of international airlines – including Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, Virgin Australia and our partner, Delta – have pledged to no longer carry hunting trophies on flights. This has been a policy of Virgin Atlantic for many years and it’s wonderful to see other airlines join the fight.”

To read the full blog post, click here.


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