I hate hunters of any kind....unless you need to hunt for food and live out in the wilderness, you do not need to hunt and kill wildlife.
Photograph by Ralph Lee Hopkins, National Geographic Stock
Published July 31, 2013
Editor's note: Jeff Flocken is North American director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
The United States government is considering whether to add lions to the list of species protected by the Endangered Species Act. Such protection would ban the importation of dead trophy lions into the U.S.
The proposed move, supported by a coalition of wildlife groups that includes my own, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, raises an obvious 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?
The most recent study, led by a scientist from Duke University, shows that as few as 32,000 lions are left in the wild. Many experts say there could be far fewer. (See an interactive experience on the Serengeti lion.)
While habitat loss and human-wildlife conflict (often in the form of retaliatory killings after lions kill livestock and sometimes even humans) are the primary causes of the lions' disappearance from Africa's forests and savannahs, trophy hunting adds to the problem. Approximately 600 lions are killed every year on trophy hunts, including lions in populations that are already declining from other threats. These hunts are unsustainable and put more pressure on the species.
Unfortunately, Americans are primarily to blame. Approximately 60 percent of all lions killed for sport in Africa are shipped to the U.S. as trophies.
There are several reasons why trophy hunting is so bad for lions, beyond the obvious one that it kills healthy members of an imperiled species. The adult male lion is the most sought-after trophy by wealthy foreign hunters. And when an adult male lion is killed, the destabilization of that lion's pride can lead to more lion deaths as outside males compete to take over the pride.
Once a new male is in the dominant position, he will often kill the cubs sired by the pride's previous leader, resulting in the loss of an entire lion generation within the pride.
Trophy hunting is also counter-evolutionary, as it's based on selectively taking the large, robust, and healthy males from a population for a hunter's trophy room. These are the same crucial individuals that in a natural system would live long, full lives, protecting their mates and cubs and contributing their genes to future generations.
Despite the wild claims that trophy hunting brings millions of dollars in revenue to local people in otherwise poor communities, there is no proof of this. Even pro-hunting organizations like the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation have reported that only 3 percent of revenue from trophy hunting ever makes it to the communities affected by hunting. The rest goes to national governments or foreign-based outfitters.
The money that does come into Africa from hunting pales in comparison to the billions and billions generated from tourists who come just to watch wildlife. If lions and other animals continue to disappear from Africa, this vital source of income—nonconsumptive tourism—will end, adversely impacting people all over Africa.
Attempts to introduce sustainable methods for sport hunting of lions have been discussed for decades. But the lion population continues to decline, and reform of the hunting industry appears to be far off. Even a new, much-hyped method of targeting aging lions, so that the animals are killed after contributing to the genetic pool, are difficult to pull off and rely on age verification after the lion has already been killed.
African lions are the only big cat not currently protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Listing African lions as an endangered species and banning trophy imports to the U.S. would send an important message: The African lion is disappearing, and the global community needs to act to stop the trend before it is too late or too costly to reverse.
It's a message that won't be heard as long as it is common and legal to kill lions for sport. Why should anyone spend money to protect an animal that a wealthy American can then pay to go kill?
The people commenting here in favor of pay-to-kill practices are not doing the numbers in honesty. The numbers don't add up. A poll of websites shows fees for guides ranging between $20-60,000 for a lion or elephant hunt.
The kill fees in countires that allow it, are about $3-5k, of which, most is taken by local officials of varying integrity. The only people making any money are a small number of professional hunters.
I beleive it is a particularly strange and twisted individual who would want to go take shots at one of these sentient beings. Certainly, not normal. Professionals will concurr that it usually takes upwards of five rifle shots to down a bull elephant. I don't even want to talk about bow hunters... This is not conservation, neither financial or of habitat - it is a very small number of people who take some sort of sick pride in killing, and the people who profit from their mental disorders. If animals must be culled, it should be done with a scientific basis and a tranquilizer dart, not by some amature taking pot-shots at baited animals looking for food.
Despite any other motivation, we must also evolve to a higher level of conciousness and to find a path to survival amongst all the beings we share what's left of the earth with. Playing with death is patently immoral. Hunters who are in it for their amusement are in many ways worse than bullfighters.
The USA HAS banned imports of tropies. This is a big start. Its driven by public opinion. In the same way that Japanese whaling has been stopped. Your voice matters. There are jsut a small number of people profiting from these practices. We should be able to replace them with true conservation. Here are some links where you can influence things a little: http://bit.ly/1gMx9Ea
Liberals blow my mind. They are so concerned with stopping the legal hunting of animals. But they don't have a problem with legalized murder of unborn children! Hey if you really want to do a good deed and make a difference in the world, why don't you write the liberal president and congress you elected and tell them to stop abortion or at least stop making us pay for it with our tax dollars. Focus on what is important!
You are misguided in that you blame legal hunting for the effects of poaching. Legal controlled hunting is not only sustainable but funds efforts to combat poaching. If there was no legal hunting those efforts would surely be rendered utterly ineffective if they existed at all. The species would definitely disappear. I don't trust your claims about how any species is in trouble. Activists are known to lobby for species to put on an endangered list out of ideological fervor not scientific evidence. This is not to say there are no endangered species, simply that I don't trust your claims.
Interesting and very timely for this Saturday, March 15th March against canned lion hunting in Chicago, and virtual march allover the world!
Can Private Conservation Contribute to Species Survival?
Hunting protects the species? Then why have so many species been hunted to EXTINCTION? The lies you are all too willing to believe are bought and paid for by the people who profit from this industry. Killing an animal for anything other than that of self-defense or sustenance is NEVER okay. The number of lions in Africa is declining, not growing, and each animal blasted away is another animal gone. Also, lions form family-like structures called prides, do you really believe they feel nothing when a member of their family is shot and killed? Have you ever volunteered and worked closely with these animals? I have. And let me tell you, they do not deserve to be snuffed for pleasure, just so some imbecile can mount their head on the wall and brag about their "grand adventure" (which is usually guided and done at a long, cowardly distance with a high-powered rifle) What we need is people to learn about these magnificent beasts and protect them from a place of respect and admiration. "Protecting" a species by hunting it is like bombing for peace.
A report released last year by the University of Pretoria and Cape Town, Panthera, the big cat organisation, and Sweet Briar College in the US found that the captive-bred lion hunting industry has grown significantly, "to the point where almost twice the number of lion trophies are exported from South Africa as from all other African countries combined" It notes how in 2009 and 2010, 833 and 682 lion trophies were exported from South Africa, respectively more than double the combined export from other African countries.
ALARMINGLY, IT FOUND AN ASSOCIATED INCREASE IN THE PREVALENCE OF THE EXPORT OF LION BONES FROM SOUTH AFRICA: AT LEAST 645 BONES/SETS OF BONES WERE EXPORTED IN 2010, 75 PERCENT TO FEED
VIETNAM AND CHINA'S INSATIABLE APPETITE FOR LION BONES FOR TIGER WINE AND TIGER CAKE......
This fact is even more scary......
Will Trophy Hunting Save African Lions from Extinction? Please read this article regarding this controversial topic.
This is a noble cause but unfortunately a one sided one and is based on emotionality and personal prejudice. The opinion I am raising here will probably be scoffed at and ignored as it supplies some insight into the other side of the matter. Just to stop hunting of lions per se is not the answer. An excellent example can be found in elephants where 15-20 years ago a similar international offensive led to the total protection of elephants across Africa. Now the very real outcome of that campaign is visible in Africa where the sheer numbers of elephants are destroying local habitats to the detriment of every single species in that area including the elephants themselves. That campaign was done through very similar means as this one and all the other ones around Melissa Bachman: It is simple - use a few emotionally laden facts and make it sound like it has been researched and voila you have millions of signatures. A few years later every one of those people decides to ignore the outcome of what they caused. Currently the revenue out of the US has led to a booming wildlife farming industry in Africa whereby hundreds of square kilometres are now being economically and sustainably used for game rather than cattle and agriculture. Several species has been brought back from extinction through the " horrible" act of hunting e.g. the Sable Antelope, the Black Wildebeest to name but two. Lion play a key role in the generated income and while I know it is an unpopular idea, its role as a huge money spinner in conservation cannot be ignored. To do so could lead to the demise of many many species including lions. Private individuals make a living out of caring for these animals specifically due to its economic value. Taking away the largest income stream for them will put severe pressure on the industry in SA and will probably eventually cause it to collapse. So before you lobby too much to stop the " hated" trophy industry - really try to understand how the whole industry operates. Properly researched statistics from Africa have shown that wherever controlled hunting of lion has been allowed their numbers are increasing - simply because people can make money from them. Denying this connection could very well lead to their extinction. I am not a hunter, and I dearly love Africa and its wonderful variety of species but I am not blinded to the fact of how delicate the balance is between protection and hunting, So please I beg of you guys to really think clearly and look at the broad picture here per area in Africa before you could very easily cause the demise of specifically that which you are trying to protect. Please??? Please read http://www.science20.com/anthrophysis/can_you_save_threatened_species_hunting_it-86729 and also http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2013-11-19-in-defence-of-a-lion-killer/#.UoyezhpkN8G (in the second article click through on all the links to see where the info is coming from) and some of the actual scientific research specifically on lion hunting in Africa: http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0029332
This just started going around on FB. I understand the reason behind hunting for reasons of survival. But this is just sick.
The U.S. should ban the import of trophy animals. This might be the only way to drastically reduce the slaughter of these majestic creatures. As it turns out Americans are the majority of hunters that travel to Africa to hunt.
Murder of any living being, animal or man, should not be encouraged and be allowed to freely gloat over!!
I once saw a website about trophy hunting of an endangered buffalo here in the Philippines which can be found in just one tiny island and number to only about less than 600. The website is owned by an american safari company.
Totally for a ban. Lions are being captive bred like sheep in South Africa I've been told solely for the purpose of offering them up for canned (trophy) hunts. Horrible practice.
Chris Mercer, Campaign Against Canned Hunting was recently interviewed in a special report http://youtu.be/Hav-1GuVcWQ where wildlife conservationists discuss the cruelty and cowardice associated with trophy hunting.
A no brainer, hunters pick out the best of the species which leaves the lesser to reproduce so it turns into a double jeopardy for the future generations of lions. But this is a sick and immoral practice to begin with. Come on people , grow a sense of compassion, or is that an outdated part of humanity as well! NOT !
Trophy hunting is a vile & disgusting practice. Killing for fun.Killing animals that you don't eat ,but I've even heard some restaurants are serving lionburgers ! WHY?? The men who support this atrocity need to have a reality check as to what constitutes true masculinity. They must have a massive case of insecurity & inferiority to find delight in killing helpless creatures for no reason. They are all a waste of skin & space & do not deserve to be called human.
The game is almost over
Sport killing is sick and disgusting. There are "farms" that raise lions for sport hunting. There is nothing courageous about taking a life for fun, and if you see differently, you are a worthless excuse for a human being.
There is no reason to kill an animal unless you are hunting for food. Killing just to put the head on your wall and wasting its life is just something I couldn't stomach.
And high lineage people like the king of Spain use to hunt wild animals (lions included) just to have some fun.. . It´s a shame!! And it´s outrageous!!
The founder of Godaddy is a major offender. I remember seeing a photo of him posing with an elephant he had shot. There is nothing heroic, honorable, or prideful about shooting an endangered or otherwise threatened species. I'll never understand the mentality of someone who says to themselves, "I've always wanted to kill/shoot/hunt a _____." What a sad life you must live to find joy in the death of lions and other magnificent creatures by your own hand.
@David Shantz I agree with you David, well said.
@David Shantz Thank you David. Please spread your message on facebook and twitter. Esp to Chuck Schreiner and these other idiots that keep bringing up abortion.
@David Shantz Finally a voice of reason and intelligence. Reading the posts of those in favor of killing these beautiful creatures gives me the feeling that we are now living the movie idiocracy.
@Jason Smith Jason, why don't you go to a discussion of abortion or politics instead of getting off subject by interjecting your views here.
@Jason Smith Jason, oh Jason, what is going on with you. Thanks for the nonsense straw man. One has nothing to do with the other. Stop abortion? Really? Have you seen Mexico? San Salvador? When women are forced to have a child whenever pregnant, and not allowed to plan families and make rational decisions - the economy turns to shit. 3rd world, buddy. Half of the GDP is made up from women. Women with 8 kids in (oppressively religious) countries, can't work. They can't even feed their kids. Poverty ensues and continues forever. That's only one reason why women should have control over their reproductive rights. There are so many more.
Jason, get outside, read a book, visit another country, b/c you need to learn something. Otherwise, your sad comments are only contributing to the ignorant.
@Jason Smith you seriously think humans unborn babies are more important then wildlife animals...
@Jason Smith Until this country can work together to fix its issues it will continue to fall apart. It is people like you that point, name call, and put all the blame on a group of people that you decided to lump together. The problem with America is not liberals or conservatives, its our brokenness and the fact that certain people will bypass LOGICAL and GREAT ideas just because they came out of the mouth of the opposing party.
PS comparing the hunting of threatened/ endangered animals to abortion issues is completely illogical. Yes, lets compare the decline of a species to the overpopulation of another one?
@Jason Smith Wow, Jason, totally different topic all together, but if you really want to touch on it in that fashion.....
Maybe if mothers weren't forced to have children they can't afford to take of (because they'd rather do drugs like methamphetamine instead) our tax dollars wouldn't go to paying for things like food stamps and welfare. Overpopulation is already a major issue (except for lions, the issue is underpopulation) especially now that major corporations (Hobby Lobby) are allowed to deny insurance coverage for contraceptives based on "personal beliefs." Maybe "God" did not intend for us to "kill" unborn children, did "God" intend for us to kill his magnificent creatures so that we can hang their heads in our dens?
@Ray McMullen no it doesn't obviously you know nothing of africa and where most of the money from the industry goes, and that's in the outfitters and corrupt officials pocket. e for effort though. Also trophy hunting in the 70's and 80's is what caused the pandemic in african wildlife, and now because of asinine chinese "medicine" poaching has skyrocketed...
@Lourens Botha Your excuse is very weak and even less scientific.
In no way does your excuse actually justify the killing of Lions or any animal just for fun.
@Lourens BothaThe numbers don't add up. A poll of websites shows fees for guides ranging between $20-60,000 for a lion or elephant hunt.
The kill fees in countires that allow it, are about $3-5k, of which, most is taken by local officials of varying integrity. The only people making any money are a small number of professional hunters.
It is a particularly strange and twisted individual who would want to go take shots at one of these sentient beings. Professionals will concurr that it usually takes upwards of five rifle shots to down a bull elephant. I don't even want to talk about bow hunters... This is not conservation, neither financial or of habitat - it is a very small number of people who take some sort of sick pride in killing, and the people who profit from their mental disorders. If animals must be culled, it should be done with a scientific basis and a tranquilizer dart, not by some amature taking pot-shots at baited animals looking for food.
Despite any other motivation, we must evolve to a higher level of conciousness and to find a path to survival amongst all the beings we share what's left ofthe earth with. Playing with death is patently immoral. Hunters who are in it for their amusement are in many ways worse than bullfighters. You seem very intelligent, watch this, and try to imagine explaining to a child how we can allow people to pay to kill these incredibly intelligent beings: http://bit.ly/1knzbQ9 Thank you
@Lourens Botha Plese read this independent study Economists at Large
@Lourens Botha You need an education....
@Marleny Rafferty YES!!! i totally agree!! here's an article i just came across on FB and man, did it make me angry!!
@Lorraine Phillips Please read my comment elsewhere to gain some further insight in how conservation in Africa/South Africa really works.
@stacey hoang Please see my comment elsewhere in this thread and try to see the other side of the distorted picture you are being served with. Trophy hunting plays a huge role towards PROTECTING lion - so by supporting the stopping of trophy hunting YOU could be partly responsible for them ultimately going extinct.
@Justin L. Please see my comment elsewhere in this thread where I am attempting to show the other side of the distorted picture you are being served with. Trophy hunting helps TOWARDS protecting lion much more than working against it.
Another brilliant article
" Trophy hunting almost worthless according to a new report "
@Melissa Marks @Marleny Rafferty I personally find it more despicable that people would single out this woman and torch her all over the internet. Regardless of your thoughts on lion hunting, it is legal in South Africa. The social media shaming of this one woman (not the many male hunters who have killed lions) screams misogyny and misplaced anger. To respond to what may view as cruelty to animals with all the vitriol of hate and death threats cheapens one's viewpoint. One hunter is not to blame for the LEGAL hunting of lions on conservancies like this one where Bachman was hunting. People do not have to like it or agree with it, and that is perfectly acceptable. Discourse and disagreement are fine, but why attack one person? Is this not treating the symptom and not the cause? And is replying the way thousands of people (including celebrities) have with hate speech and sexist name calling the solution? People should come first. Otherwise this entire dialogue is one of chest-beating and name calling. If I wanted to be a part of that I could return to grade school. Lets have some perspective.
@Lourens Botha @Roy Glass @Michael Reid
BS! Stop misleading us! Trophy hunting do more harm than good. Check the article below:
@Roy Glass @Michael Reid Roy, please read my comment elsewhere. However it being seen as despicable, trophy hunting is playing a huge role in protection lions. Stopping that will cause them to become extinct faster than guns from America will do it on controlled hunts. Attitudes and ignorance like yours are far more dangerous to lion than Melissa Bachman and other hunters are. Secondly to compare the situation in SA on a well managed game farm with the plight of lion in original wild areas in Africa where their biggest danger is loss of habitat to humans, is simply gross ignorance. The two situations are simply worlds apart and make sure you understand why I can make that statement before you feel justified to support this.
@Michael Reid So its ok for her to kill a lion because its legal? The problem is that lions will soon be on the endangered list. It does not matter that she was a woman. The fact that she is glorifying trophy hunting when it should be stopped is wrong. People should not wish hate and harm to her i agree. But i do believe some laws should be changed.
@Lourens Botha @Roy Glass @Michael Reid no it doesn't trophy hunting is the main reason many of these animals are on the verge of extinction. You keep regurgitating SCI's nonsense, so you can keep waxing the remainder of the wildlife population to try and fill the insatiable greed that obviously knows no bounds.
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