Guy Gorney, a 64-year-old trophy hunter from Manhattan, Illinois has been named as the hunter who killed the sleeping lion in Zimbabwe. The video, seen here, is from 2011. It shows Gorney being coached as prepares to shoot the sleeping animal, who is awakened by the shot. Gorney shot the lion three times as it struggled to move.
“Gorney, who hails from a small town southwest of Chicago, could be seen taking aim with a rifle mounted on a tripod at a lion sleeping at the edge of scrubland,” according to the Times report.
“Gorney has boasted of killing more than 70 rare big game animals,” reports The Sun.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Trophy Hunting is Legal in Zimbabwe, Namibia, and South Africa
According to CBS Chicago, Gorney killed two lions in Zimbabwe.
In the video, a South African hunting guide “says from off-camera: ‘So you want to be behind that shadow off his front leg coming down.’ The camera then zooms in on the lion before a shot is heard and he begins writhing in pain,” reports The Sun.
According to Zimbabwean government data, more than three-quarters of hunters on the country’s communal lands, where trophy fees cost tens of thousands of dollars, are from the US, reports Global Press Journal.
GPJ says, “Poaching is widely condemned, but in Zimbabwe, a complex web of factors can make it difficult to tell the difference between legal and illegal hunting.”
2. Social Media Outrage Caused Gorney to Remove Images of his Kills
The court of public opinion is out on Gorney. News articles refer to him as a coward. English journalist and TV personality Piers Morgan calls him a scumbag.
“His Facebook account – where his profile picture shows him straddling another lion he killed – is not visible, and that of a woman apparently his daughter is also not public,” reports The Independent.
A petition to prosecute Gorney is growing. The petition reads “Prosecut [sic] Guy Gorney of Manhattan Illinois for killing the sleeping lion: Trohpey [sic] hunter who hilled [sic] a sleeping lion! This is cruel and inhuman he is a disgrace to the human race, a coward and heartless person. No one should take any life human, animal or any of gods creatures.
3. Gorney Defended Himself in a 2015 Interview & Gave a 2018 Open Mic
In a 2018 YouTube video, Gorney spoke at what appears to be his church’s open mic night about his hunting experiences.
While the controversial sleeping lion video was made in 2011, Gorney was only identified as the hunter this week.
In a 2015 Gorney told WBBM radio he had killed 70 animals:
“I like pitting myself against these animals. And what greater trophy than an elephant?” he said.
He claimed hunting was conservation. “You can say, why’d you shoot a lion? I love zebra, so shooting a lion probably saves 70 zebra a year, give or take,” he said.
He told the broadcaster: “I have a hard time understanding [why] if you have a picture of somebody with a deer, nobody seems to care.
“But if it’s an elephant, it’s a big problem. If it’s a lion – especially now – it’s a huge problem.
“But to me, either way, I’ve stopped a beating heart.”
Gorney went on to slam some critics as “insane” for making “physical threats” towards him as he’s “proficient with firearms”.
He added: “I don’t see the logic of making a physical threat against somebody who’s proficient with firearms and wouldn’t hesitate to defend himself or his family.
“It’s like, are you insane?”
4. Trophy Hunting has Proponents
Trophy hunting is extremely divisive.
An attempt to ban all international trade in African lions, from trophy heads to bones, failed at a 2016 global wildlife summit in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Guardian posed the question, “What would possess someone to want to kill these animals, let alone pay tens of thousands of pounds for the opportunity to do so?
‘If you ask 100 hunters, you will get 100 different answers,’ says Jens Ulrik Høgh,” a hunting guide who spoke to the Guardian by phone from Sweden, where he was escorting groups on hunts of wild boar.
The challenge seems to be part of the motivation, which is why Gorney’s slaying of the sleeping lion is lost on many.
Proponents of trophy hunting say it helps to conserve the dwindling species populations.
5. In 2018, Lions Ate Poachers in South Africa
In two separate incidents, lions attacked poachers who entered private reserve land illegally.
Three rhino poachers were killed in Kenton-on-the-Sea in July 2018.
“The poachers entered the reserve with a slew of weapons — including a high-powered rifle with a silencer, an axe, wire cutters and food supplies for a number of days,” reports Time.
The second attack occurred at Ingwelala Private Nature Reserve near Near Kruger National Park. A single trophy hunter had slipped onto the property illegally. By the time the lions were scared away by gunshots, the body was mostly eaten except the head, which was left untouched.