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avril 2019   01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Who would want to kill a lion? Inside the minds of trophy hunters

From the dentist who felled Cecil the lion to the woman who shot a goat on Islay, keen hunters are happy to fork out small fortunes to kill wildlife. But why do they do it – and what is the true cost of their obsession?

The most elephants that Ron Thomson has ever killed by himself, in one go, is 32. It took him about 15 minutes. Growing up in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, Thomson began hunting as a teenager and quickly became expert. From 1959, he worked as a national parks ranger and was regularly called on to kill animals that came into conflict with man. “It was a great thrill to me, to be very honest,” he says by phone from Kenton-on-Sea, the small coastal town in South Africa where he lives. “Some people enjoy hunting just as much as other people abhor it. I happened to enjoy it.”

Now 79, Thomson has not shot an elephant for decades, and he struggles to find an open-minded audience for his stories of having, in his own words, “by far hunted more than any other man alive”. Today there are people who hunt, and many more people who feel a deep-seated aversion to it; for whom the image of an animal slain by man – regardless of species, motive, legal status or even historical context – is nothing but repellent.

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