Article Lead Image

Woody Hibbard/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed

Killing of Cecil the Lion casts shadow on hunting exploits of Trump family

Donald Trump’s sons killed elephant, leopard, crocodile, kudu, and cape buffalo in Zimbabwe in 2012.


Curt Hopkins


It’s not just dentists and cheerleaders and CEOs who have headed off to Africa with the hope of killing the big five. It’s also the sons of CEOs.

The killing of Cecil the Lion by an American dentist, which prompted outrage online and a heartfelt response by Jimmy Kimmel, has spurred a closer look at the big-game hunting exploits of Donald Trump ‘s family. 

His sons—Donald Trump, Jr. and Eric Trump—went to Zimbabwe in 2012, where they killed elephant, leopard, crocodile, kudu, and cape buffalo.

One photo shows Donald Trump, Jr. with a severed elephant tail.

Another shows Eric Trump hanging a crocodile from a tree.

TMZ alleged the two were under investigation for their hunting. But V. Chadenga, director-general of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, denied that they were being investigated and said they had abided by Zimbabwean law.

Zimbabwe, once known as the “breadbasket of Africa” but economically strapped now for decades, embraces big-game hunting, which brings in tens of thousands of dollars with each hunt.

It’s worth noting that big-game hunting is legal in a handful of African countries, including Zimbabwe, Namibia, and South Africa. A recent study (PDF) by the U.N.’s World Tourism Organization indicated that wildlife tourism accounts for 80 percent of the continent’s $34.3 billion in annual travel sales, making it an important economic sector for the continent. 

When it comes to the law in Africa, there is no rule of thumb. Each situation demands we examine it individually. Given Palmer’s permit apparently did not allow him to hunt in the area where he killed the lion called Cecil, he may have broken the law. (One of his guides and the property owners have been arrested but Palmer has not.) When it comes to the sons of Trump, that does not seem to be the case.

Forbes’ Frank Miniter took issue with TMZ’s depiction of the brothers as “pitiful bloodthirsty morons.” He maintained that, among other things, Africans cut the tails off fallen elephants as an indicator of respect. He also said the area in which the Trump brothers hunted was overpopulated with elephants.

“TMZ didn’t respect the African culture enough to even ask these questions,” he said. 

Trump, Jr. told Forbes, he and his brother had been taught to hunt by their Czech grandfather and that Trump, Sr. “really doesn’t understand why Eric and I hunt. However, he is open minded and so always allowed us to go hunting.”

“Open minded” might not be the first descriptor that comes to mind for most when they think of the Celebrity Apprentice host.

The Trumps are both executive vice presidents of their father’s Trump Organization. Their father is currently the top Republican candidate for president, despite, or perhaps because of, his recent chain of comments that include calling Mexicans rapists and President Obama a foreigner.

Photo by Woody Hibbard/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed 

The Daily Dot