Remarakbale Move To Stop Shooting Of Young Lions


Published: September - 2005

Up in Tanzania, and to a lesser extent elsewhere in Africa, a remarkable move is underway to stop the shooting of young lions. If you have not heard about this effort yet in the field or had a safari affected about it, you will soon. The emerging minimum standard for a lion to be taken is six years of age. TAHOA (Tanzania Hunting Operators Association) has already passed a measuring binding its members to observe this standard. Botswana operators have agreed to a similar move. The measures do not have the force of law in either country, but there is every reason to believe they will have soon. Forfeiture of trophies sometime in the future is a very real possibility. One Tanzanian company that has been a leader in this effort is Tanzania Game Tracker Safaris/Windrose Safaris, where the ban on shooting young lions is so strict a PH faces termination if he allows a client to shoot an underage animal. John J. Jackson, III's Conservation Force is a prime mover in the overall effort.

The move to shoot only older lions is commendable for several reasons. First, it may turn out to be crucial in the effort to prevent an eventual closure of lion hunting continent-wide. Seems lions younger than six years are still what are called pride lions. They are crucial to lion reproduction and to the social structure of the pride. At age six, or thereabouts, almost all males lose their importance as breeders. Shooting them is of virtually no consequence to the survival of lions. By shooting older lions only, the argument goes, the hunting community is not just doing the right thing for lions, but also insulating itself against a rising tide of anti-lion-hunting criticism.

Shooting older lions is commendable for another reason, too - it is leading to a revival in lion trophy quality. Those black-maned brutes showing up in the brochures of operators recently are there for a reason. They are the fruits of a remarkable restraint on the part of more and more companies. Seems a new No. 4 SCI lion may........(continued)

 
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