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Ms Magdel Boshoff - [email protected] Director Generals Office : Stop Trophy Hunting of Africa's wildlife and make it illegal - boycott SA

Ms Magdel Boshoff - Director Generals Office
: Stop Trophy Hunting of Africa's wildlife and make it illegal - boycott SA


Why this is important

Trophy Hunting in Africa is a booming business and inexperienced hunters, including those who require multiple shots to kill an animal, are just as welcome as professionals, and a hunting license is not necessary. Many companies such as: Eagle Safaris in Harrismith, South Africa, operated by Simon Leach, bill themselves as a "hunter and conservationist," and US citizens make up by far the largest number of trophy hunters.
International conservation groups are sharply critical of trophy hunting, which they say is partly to blame for the acute plight of the lion. The business, which is booming in South Africa and Tanzania, in particular, is hastening the decline of the big cat, they warn in a petition to the United States Department of the Interior. Commenting on the extensive studies, Jeffrey Flocken of the International Fund of Animal Welfare (IFAW) says: "Many people will be shocked to know how quickly the numbers have fallen."
Flocken and his allies want to see the African lion listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), a US law designed to protect endangered animals. US citizens make up by far the largest number of trophy hunters. The lion currently has limited protection under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Americans are especially fond of bringing home stuffed lion heads, paws and tails from Africa. Other important importers include Germany, along with Spain and France. Lion parts are also sent to other countries from the United States. The animal's bones are prized in China to make "tiger wine," which the Chinese believe has healing properties, and are used as a replacement for tiger bones, which have now become rare.
According to the petition, the body parts of at least 5,660 killed lions were traded internationally between 1999 and 2008.
The consequences of hunting tourism are often fatal for the entire pride. Hunters covet the magnificent mane and therefore primarily target older, dominant males, which leads to a rise in deadly attacks within the pride. To sire their own offspring, other male lions kill the cubs of their former rival, and sometimes even the mothers, when they try to defend the cubs.
A Disaster for Africa
If we don't act now, the African lion could become extinct, conservationists warn, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service appears to be taking them seriously. The agency is said to be reviewing the possibility of adding the lion to the ESA list, to the consternation of the African hunting and tourism industry. Such action could result in the loss of 60 percent of the trophy market, Alexander Songorwa, director of wildlife for Tanzania's tourism ministry, wrote in the New York Times. It would be a disaster for his country, he added.
At its convention in April, the organization Wildlife Ranching South Africa (WRSA) characterized efforts to list the lion under the ESA as "sabotage." The country's roughly 10,000 private farmers are proud of the "the tremendous growth in the South African wild animal industry," WRSA notes. The industry produces and offers what its trigger-happy customers covet: Kudu, buffalo, impala and other antelopes, and the more costly lions for well-heeled hunters.
Because they value tourists who prefer to shoot wildlife with their cameras over big-game hunters, lion countries Zambia and Botswana are now trying to save their main attraction. Although it generated $3 million (€2.3 million) in annual revenues, Zambia has now outlawed the hunting of lions and leopards. And in Botswana, the country's final hunting season has just begun.
Experts disagree over the best ways to help the beleaguered animal. Pimm stresses cooperation with local inhabitants, saying that they need to learn how to protect their herds more effectively, and that children should be taught how to behave around the predators while still in school.
In the 1960s over 100,000 lions roamed the dry grasslands and Savannah of the African continent now there are as few as 35,000 left. Stuart Pimm, a professor of conservation ecology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. "That's a real collapse in populations." With only a quarter of an ecosystem that was once larger than the United States still existing today Pimm notes that this shrinkage is almost as severe as rainforest loss. 67 individual savannah zones have been identified for their survival, with six in South Africa and four in East Africa. Most of these habitats are in protected areas like the Kruger and Serengeti National Parks.
German zoologist Alfred Brehm noted nearly a century ago that the invention of the gun has virtually wiped out Africa's big cat and hunters, like the legendary Jules Gérard, had rid North Africa of the supposed plague of Berber lions, and Morocco's last lion was shot to death in 1920.
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Posted November 26, 2013
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