The Gross National Debt

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Here kitty kitty kitty

The Internet has gone all splodey head over the killing of a "named" and collared male lion in Africa.

UPDATE: The Zimbabwe Government has charged two people who live there with illegally hunting the lion. This government. A government that ranks 156 of 175 nations in a corruption survey.

Here's some facts:

The hunt took place OUTSIDE a preserve in Africa. Baiting game in Zimbabwe is legal as is hunting at night.

Shooting a collared animal is legal. Here's two bullet points from the National Geographic Society article:

  • In fact there is no law prohibiting the shooting of collared animals, though no reputable PH would do so if he could see the collar. The problem comes when it is difficult to see any collar and this applies to lion as well, where the mane tends to grow over the collar. In fact a collared lion was shot near to Hwange very recently. (emphasis mine)
  • The problem is that it is not possible to see the collars clearly in the bush. Suggestions that the collars be made of bright colored materials or that the elephant’s ears are painted brightly, are rejected. This leaves the hunter in a quandary. He is left with little option but to assume that unless he has been advised of the likelihood of a collared animal in the vicinity, and unless he can detect the collar, then the animal in his concession may be legally killed. After all, that is what he bought the concession for. (ditto)
So we have a legal hunt, on land where said lion could be killed using a legal harvest method in the presence of a professional hunter (PH) which is required for most African hunts.

The animal was recovered in daylight the next day and the collar reported. The Telegraph story (linked above) contains this statement:

Animals cannot be killed within the confines of the park. The hunters then removed his collar – further contravening park rules.

Again, the lion was not killed in the park, but a mile and a half away by the story. The story does not say where the animal was found. I find it incongruous that the park's rules can be applied outside the boundary of the park. Being Africa, that may be the law, but the narrative of the story indicates otherwise.

As for the whole issue of hunting animals like lions, I tried to find a logical and rational discussion of this from either a non-hunting publication or source or from a group that objects to hunting but can at least examine facts. I found this. Here's a pullout quote:

There is much evidence to suggest that hunting is less destructive than other nonconsumptive forms of ecotourism, such as photographic tourism. Hunters have less impact on the environment than photographic tourists as they require fewer local amenities and infrastructure, therefore reducing habitat degradation. The income generated from the hunting industry far exceeds that generated from other forms of ecotourism and is derived from fewer tourists, reducing their ecological impact while providing increased revenue for conservation initiatives. In fenced reserves the controlled hunting of overpopulated herds is an important aspect of habitat management, as this keeps animal populations below carrying capacity, preventing ecological degradation.

I understand a lot of people have huge objections to these hunts. I ask: How much are you spending to promote conservation and ecology in Africa? What are you spending to support the autochthons who benefit from the meat supplied by hunters and benefit from the money hunters spend on licenses and tips?

For those who say just ban legal hunting, another pullout:

Hunting bans across Africa have been relatively ineffective in protecting wildlife, as they reduce the value of wild animals and therefore reduce local interest in protecting the animals. Since the establishment of the hunting ban in Kenya in 1977, the country has recorded a decline in number by 40 to 90 percent in most animal species. Alternatively, hunting tourism has been extremely successful as it attaches an economic value to the wildlife and therefore encourages the cooperation of local people in conservation efforts for economic gain.

So I ask again, if you object to the hunting and wish to ban it, how much money are you going to send to the Africans who get cash in their pockets (hunters tip heavily) and how much will you contribute to research? Some of the big game licenses are auctions with the money at auction going toward SCIENCE! and conservation. If you object to the hunts, attend the auction and buy the license. Then no animal is killed and the money stays.

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