Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lion trophies

In the conservation example I ended with on Tuesday it is important to note that the main source of income to the villages in the area, and hence the reason they now support the conservation efforts, comes from safari hunting of elephant. This sits rather uneasily with many conservationists.

In the news this week was an exchange in the British parliament about whether the government should ban the importation of lion trophies.

You can read the whole piece but here are some relevant facts:
  • Although total lion populations may be around 20,000 in Africa, only some 3,000 of those are males, which means the species is even more at risk. 
  • Sport hunting mostly targets adult male animals. Hunters regard them as the most impressive to kill.
  • Between 2000 and 2008, some 4,250 wild lions were exported as trophies. 
  • Lions have not even appeared on the CITES agenda in 2007 or 2010. It should be noted that CITES votes are often influenced by powerful lobbying and special interest groups. 
  • The African lion is presently on appendix II, which allows for regulated and sustainable trade.
  • (T)he UK is a relatively minor importer of wild lion trophies overall, having imported about 50 between 2002 and 2008, compared with 317 for Spain, 274 for France, 170 for Mexico, 146 for Germany and a staggering 2,792 for the United States.  
Part of the government response:
Trophy hunting is often an emotive subject, but many recognise that, if managed properly, it can actually benefit conservation. Hunters can pay large sums of money for the privilege of hunting, particularly for Africa's "big five", which includes the lion. If it is managed properly and the income is fed back into conservation schemes and the local community, trophy hunting can have, and has had, a positive effect.

Two thousand seven hundred and ninety two.....

A quick search of the internet suggests that a lion hunt is likely to cost $20,000-$25,000 for the trophy fee. eg Nyala safaris or Phirima Safaris plus the cost of the safari itself (Nyala suggest another $30,000).

No comments: