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CITES records show that Zambia exported 193 lion trophies in 2010?

We had always assumed that Zambia could be following a programme of sustainable trophy hunting of lions. Meanwhile we were concerned about the numbers of quotas issued, the lack of information about the impact of trophy hunting on utilized populations in hunting concessions, and the benefit to communities supposedly involved in sharing trophy hunting profits.

But now we are alerted to something quite alarming. According to the official CITES website, Zambia exported 193 lion trophies in 2010. In the past five years leading up to 2010, Zambia exported an average of 65 trophies each year.  So where did all the trophies representing a 300% increase over past years go?

CITES official records indicate that 42 suddenly went to Canada (average over the past five years = 0.6 lions) and 105 trophy lions to Russia (average over the past years = 1.2 lions).

What is going on here? The IUCN in 2006 estimated that Zambia had between 600 and 1,400 lions of all ages and sexes. There is no way that an export of 193 lion trophies in a single year is by any means sustainable given those population estimates.

Is CITES wrong? Were old skins perhaps mistakenly labelled as hunting trophies by Zambia?  Or was there a Russian and Canadian joint hunting convention in Zambia in 2010? Questions posed to the Zambian CITES authorities have not been answered, but we will keep you informed as to progress. 

Posted by Pieter Kat at 21:11

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