The most comprehensive survey of the status of the African lion has been completed and published by the International Foundation for the Conservation of Wildlife (H.I.H. Prince Abdorreza) and Conservation Force. The survey and 171-page publication were made possible through a generous grant from Steven Chancellor with the support of Conservation Force and the International Foundation for the Conservation of Wildlife. Steven Chancellor has become the icon lion conservationist having funded much of the Okavango Lion Study, Botswana Predator Workshop and now most of this survey. He is the foremost lion philanthropist in the world. The survey was administered and the publication was edited by Philippe Chardonnet, DVM. He is the new Executive Director of the International Foundation for the Conservation of Wildlife in Paris.
The purpose of the survey was to gather and provide additional data on the conservation status of the lion in Sub-Saharan Africa (42 countries). It is, in fact, the most comprehensive African lion survey ever performed. The survey and publication were actually carried out and written by a team of more than 40 experts since the magnitude and scope of the project could not be the product of a single author.
The overall number of lions found today in Sub-Saharan Africa is conservatively estimated to be about 40,000 (39,373). This does not indicate a population decline over the past decade as suggested in less comprehensive reviews. If anything, the lion status is generally stable. In some areas it has increased, even been reintroduced and in some areas it has declined. Fifty percent of the total population is situated in the Southern African region, and 40 percent is in Eastern Africa. Seven percent and three percent are in Central and Western Africa, respectively. Even though this is the most comprehensive survey ever performed, some lions still are not included. It is considered a conservative estimate.
The survey included: (1) The protection status and size of lion habitats (including original maps); (2) An estimate of population sizes, population densities and population trends; (3) Lion habitat quality, main prey for lions (whether wildlife and/or livestock) and major constraints to lion conservation; (4) The use of lion resources (whether consumptive or non-consumptive), as well as management and regulatory measures, problem animal control and poaching; and (5) Analysis of trade in live lion products.
Lions are present in 34 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. About half of the lion range falls within protected overall average of 250 are taken. Hunting success continues to be stable. In areas like the Selous Game Reserve, which is noted as one of the most intact lion ranges in Africa, lion hunting generated 12 to 13 percent of the revenue derived from tourist hunting.
In the Southern African region, five of the eight countries allow tourist hunting. Zambia has found that a trophy off-take of up to eight percent of the adult lion population is sustainable, based upon more than 20 years of observation. In 2000, a total of 78 lions were taken by trophy hunters.
In Botswana, the national quota had been 39 lions when a moratorium was imposed in 2001. The breakdown was 12 in the Okavango Delta, three in Linyanti/Chobe River area, 14 in Dry North, and 10 in Central and Southern Botswana. In Zimbabwe 91 lions were taken by tourist hunters in 2000, though recent quotas have varied from 139 to 224 per annum.
The total number of hunting trophies taken has varied from 488 (in 1996) to 606 (in 1991), according to the World Conservation Monitoring Center Trade Database. Over the past 10 years, 1991 to 2000, the export of hunting trophies has been as follows: Tanzania (2,226), Republic of South Africa (1,900), Zimbabwe (1,078), Botswana (1,008), Zambia (368), Namibia (188), Cameroon (88), Mozambique (84), Burkina Faso (34), etc., in that descending order.
The African lion is listed on Appendix II of CITES, which means that an export permit is always required to transport the trophy. It was listed at the first Conference of the Parties in 1976. (All wildcats are listed on CITES Appendix I or II)
The African lion is categorized as “vulnerable” by IUCN in the Red List of Threatened Species of the World (IUCN SSC). It is recognized as the most authoritative guide to the status of species. The aim of the list is to convey the urgency and scale of conservation problems to the public and policy makers and to motivate the global community to reduce species extinctions. The Red List system categories start at Extinct, Extinct in the Wild, Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, Near Threatened, Least Concerned, etc. The Cat Specialist Group of the IUCN has given the African lion a “Vulnerable” rating on the basis that its population estimate exceeds 10,000 but its overall population is “declining and fragmented.” The lions “vulnerable” status places it in the same category as the cheetah (Vulnerable) and in a worse status category than the jaguar (Near Threatened), the bobcat (Least Concern) and the leopard (Least Concern).
The new African Lion Working Group of the IUCN’s Cat Specialist Group coincidentally completed its own review in 2002. It initially issued some fairly alarming statements about the status of the African lion. That review was not as comprehensive. That estimate was only 18,000 to 27,000 lion, which (if correct) was a substantial reduction from previous estimates. Since that time, it has backed away from overly alarming messages and is continuing its review of the status of the African lion. The Conservation Force status survey should complement that and other ongoing efforts by stakeholders to conserve Africa’s lion. The African lion has not declined overall during the past decade, but would probably benefit from updating conservation strategies that Africans are the primary stakeholders to make action plans and to implement them. Tourist hunting is a vital part of that strategy. Tourist hunting of African lions is seen as one of the “driving forces” for lion survival. The Survey quotes the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Dr. Klaus Topfer’s statement that “The sustainable utilization of wild animals through trophy hunting offers economic incentives to the local rural population, reduces poaching, and offers incentives to conserve critical habitat.”
New Year Thanks: It is a new year and it is time to give thanks. With our operation, all donations count and are put to good use. We cannot thank everybody in this space. We want to at least thank those individuals and organizations that have made and continue to make the largest contributions! The individuals who have contributed the very most are: Steven Chancellor, Don and Bunni Meske, Byron and Sandra Sadler, Joseph Cullman and David Terk (deceased). The next level of individual donors is Lacy and Dorothy Harber, Kevin Malone and Gary Hansen. Thank you for the exceptional and excellent level of support.
The organizations that have provided the most support are Dallas Safari Club and its related Dallas Ecological Foundation; Houston Safari Club and its related American Conservation and Education Society; International Foundation for Conservation of Wildlife; International Game Foundation, H.I.H. Prince Abdorreza; African Safari Club of Florida; Foundation for North American Wild Sheep (FNAWS) together with its affiliates, particularly Eastern FNAWS; the National Taxidermist Association; and Grand Slam/OVIS. Everyone in the community benefits from their extraordinary support.
Economic Importance of Hunting in America in 2001: Southwick Associates and Point-to-Point Communications were contracted by the Animal Use Issues Committee (AUI), a Committee of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (IAFWA), to do an economic report on the significance of hunting in the United States. Here are some of the salient facts. Hunters’ equipment expenses in 2001 were 25 billion dollars ($24,708,970,000). Those expenses then ripple through the economy, with a total multiplier effect of 67.5 billion dollars ($67,568,137,514). When hunting and shooting sports are combined, 26 million Americans participated in all shooting sports, with more than 13 million of those being hunters more than 16 years of age that hunted in 2001. Federal income taxes generated from hunting were $2.4 billion, which is enough to pay the annual pay checks of 100,000 troops.
The report cites the IAFWA President Brent Manning, head of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, as stating, “It takes money to conserve and restore habitat and wildlife. Sportsmen are the single largest source of conservation revenues.”
Yours truly is a life member of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and serves on its Animal Use Issues Committee. If you would like a copy of the report, contact me at: 504-837-1233. E-mail: email@example.com.
Ruffed Grouse Society: An apology is owed to the Ruffed Grouse Society. They were one of the caring organizations that registered to march “in spirit” in the Countryside Alliance March in September when 407,791 hunting supporters marched in London. We carried their message to London, but we left their name out of the list in this Bulletin of those that we helped enlist to “march in spirit.” They marched “in spirit” too.
To update you on the situation in England, a bill has been introduced in the House of Commons to end all deer hunting and also to end dog hunting of rabbits in England. The proponents admit they intend to amend it to criminalize all hunting! Fortunately, the House of Lords (Senate) is not likely to let it pass. Recent polls in England indicate growing public support of hunting since the 407,791 marchers descended on London, though a majority of the public still does not support hunting.
Things We Like to Hear Species Downlisting: “It is worth noting that when a species is transferred from Appendix I to Appendix II, the protection for this species has not necessarily been ‘downgraded.’ Rather, it is a sign of success because that species’ numbers have grown to the point where trade may be possible. In addition, by allowing a species to be commercially traded at sustainable levels, Appendix II status can actually improve protection by giving local people a greater stake in the species’ survival. It can also attract greater international financial and practical support from the international community for improving national enforcement and conservation measures.” (Source: CITES Secretariat, UNEP News Release, 17 June 2002.)
Role of Trophy Hunting: “During the first part of the previous century . . . [w]ildlife was considered undesirable competitors for grazing that could best be used to produce livestock . . . and even in the late 1950s land was advertised in the Eastern Cape with one advantage being that it contained no wildlife. . . . Today, we have more wildlife than at any time in the past 100 years. Wildlife ranching has contributed significantly to this recovery. . . . What was not expected was that trophy hunting and not meat production would provide the initial stimulus to develop wildlife ranching as a major economic force in South Africa.” (Source: J. du P. Bothma University of Pretoria, November 2002.)
Importance of Sportsmen: “First, it’s clear that wildlife and habitat conservation is important to the sportsmen and women of America. But the reverse is equally true: sportsmen and women are of vital importance to successful wildlife conservation. These folks are a powerful voice for conservation and a powerful force in our economy as well.” (Source: Steven A. Williams, Director of USF&WS, October 1, 2002.
Reversal in Zimbabwe: “For many years, it was colonial governments’ policy to eradicate game to reduce competition with sheep or cattle or to protect domestic livestock from game-borne disease like rinderpest or sleeping sickness. The colonial governments with the resources of Europe behind them failed to exterminate wildlife, so there is good reason to expect that, despite the massive increase in human population, the much lower efficiency of today will ensure the survival of the game, and thence hunting, for the future.” (Source: Don Heath, Editor, African Hunter Magazine, Vol. 8, No. 2, 2002.) - John J. Jackson, III, Conservation Force.
For more information on Conservation Force and/or the services available through Jackson’s alliance with The Hunting Report, write:
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Tel. 504-837-1233. Fax 504-837-1145.