Poor Lion and Leopard Results In Zambia May Lead To Quota Cuts


Published: December - 2008

Hunters eyeing a lion or leopard safari to Zambia in 2009 need to be aware of a number of developments there, including a possible cut in cat quotas. While this hunting season produced reasonably good results, signs of excessive quota offtake are beginning to show in some of the once excellent Game Management Areas. Troubling reports are surfacing regarding inferior lion, billed to clients as "maneless" lion (as if exhibiting a special trait), as well as poor success on some leopard hunts in the Luangwa Valley areas. Some safari operators are concerned that these results could lead to drastic quota reduction across the board for these cats. If that happens operators may sue the Wildlife Authority to uphold their original quotas. Adding to this is the thorny question of safari prices, which appear ready to rise again, despite the worldwide economic downturn.

The trend in Zambia seems to be that safari operators with good areas and good quality cats will charge high fees to pay for the careful nurturing of their GMAs over the last six years. However, operators who have been taking their full quota each year and are now seeing a drop in trophy quality are charging just as much as those with good areas. Keep this in mind when eyeing a high-dollar hunt for lion or leopard, as I'm told that some areas have been overshot, despite outstanding results the last couple of years.

That said, some of the Kafue and Luangwa areas this season did produce monster lion and leopard akin to the early days. Cats of this quality are probably a sign of safari operator investment in anti-poaching initiatives and self-imposed quota restrictions. When shopping for one of these hunts, ask specific questions. What anti-poaching program does a given operator have in place? And, what is his quota and how many cats does he take a year?

Some other quality trophies taken this season include a magnificent world record sitatunga of 35 inches taken by Richard Bell-Cross of Prohunt Zambia in GMA Lunga Luswishi. Sable, roan and buffalo also........(continued)

 
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