Alan Murphy
Australia AU

Alan is a travel writer and author of over 20 Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guides to Southern Africa and Zambia & Malawi.

Category: Alan Murphy's Column

This week Alan highlights the issue of lions and hunting. Lion numbers in the wild are low and continuing to drop.  So, why do countries allow these awesome predators to be slaughtered?

Money. That’s the simple answer. Trophy hunters with their eye set on a mounted lion head in their lounge room are still welcomed into parts of Southern Africa. It’s insane. Aren’t we beyond this? It seems not. A recent study found that there are only around 30,000 lions left in the wild. However other experts say numbers could actually be much lower.

In poor, developing countries, it’s a quick, easy injection of cash to let someone blow away a poor unsuspecting beast and then charge them thousands of dollars for the privilege. Admittedly, there are other reasons for the decline of this magnificent predator

Loss of habitat and human-animal conflict are the primary reasons for the loss of the lions from African bushveld and savannah. However, trophy hunting exacerbates the problem with around 600 of the animals slaughtered every year. And for what? So some twisted mind feels good about themselves every time they see their ‘trophy’ staring down at them. It’s so wrong.

Whose faulty is it anyway?

And who’s to blame? Well, Americans get to shoulder a fair share of the blame. They are responsible for about 60% of lions killed in the name of ‘sport’ in Africa. The American government is even considering adding lions to a species list protected by the Endangered Species Act. Thus making it illegal to bring home your ‘trophy’.

A coalition of wildlife groups are, unsurprisingly, supporting the move, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare poses the question, ‘’Why on Earth are we still allowing this animal to be killed for ‘fun’ when it’s in danger of disappearing from the wild in our lifetimes?”

Now that’s a good question…

In further sombre news for African wildlife, Zambia has partially lifted a ban on hunting.  The lure of the earnings to be made just became more than it could bear.

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