The media and the internet have been abuzz with this latest killing of a lion by a trophy hunter (allegedly a Spanish man).
Yesterday, on the “BBC Breakfast” broadcast, the Oxford “researcher” who radiocollared Xanda kept repeating the Oxford University mantra – trophy hunting is perfectly legal and important to bring finance to impoverished African wildlife departments. Indeed, Oxford University was commissioned by the UK Government to produce a “report” on the “benefits” of trophy hunting. Their stance is that “where trophy hunting is well-regulated, transparent and devolves sufficient authority to the land managers, it has the potential to contribute to lion conservation, but in many countries, poor governance and weak regulation can lead to unsustainable trophy hunting”.
But what the Oxford University spokesperson neglected to mention was the following:
1. The Ngamo Forest reserve are, where Xanda was shot, seemed to have had no lion quota assigned. Neither did the area where Cecil was shot in 2015. Lion hunting quotas are supposed to be assigned to concessions on a “scientific basis”. But even without an assigned lion hunting quota, the hunting operator in the area advertised a lion hunt and was able to attract this “client”.
2. Zimbabwe operates a “lion quota transfer” between areas. In other words, a lion on “quota” can be transferred from one area to another regardless of any “scientific quota” as mentioned above. So basically, any hunting operator, via the “quota transfer” system, can engage clients to shoot lions on any hunting concession in Zimbabwe.
3. Convenient for hunters that Zimbabwe allows so many hunting concessions border directly onto nationally protected areas?
4. Oxford University has stated that “70% of fees for trophy hunting go back to “conservation”. These sorts of statements are largely misleading. The local hunting operator wins significant finance from the “hunt”. The operator payment of a “trophy fee” to the Government is minimal. The “trophy fee” of a lion hunted in Zimbabwe these days is about $10,000 or so. That fee is paid to the Treasury. And we have no idea what funds come back to conserve lions. Absolutely NO idea.
5. Zimbabwe hunting clients are not supposed to shoot pride males. Xanda was a pride male.
6. It would appear that since 2006, well over 100 male lions have been shot on the Hwange National Park borders. So- is this lion conservation? Or “sustainable utilization”? Or even “well regulated, transparent…”?
Cecil was supposed to be a “wakeup call”. Many seem to have slept though that alarm. Xanda is supposed to be the second ringing of the alarm clock. Let’s see if any change will result?
Picture credit: pinterest.com