Thursday 29 October 2015

Some facts about hunting Lions in Zimbabwe with reference to the killing of Cecil

From an interview with lion researcher Brent Stapelkamp who worked with Cecil in Hwange.

First, there was no hunting quota on lions this year in the Gwaai area. The minimum age of lion
that can be hunted is six years. Last year in 2014 only one lion out of the five shot in the
area was above the age of six. One of those lions was just 2 years old. So this year, the hunters were penalised, and the quota was removed from the landowners. Cecil was supposed to be 100% safe because there was no lion hunting allowed this year.

Second, the Zimbabwe law says that if you’re hunting a lion you must have a parks ranger with
you. There was no parks ranger present.

Third, the hunter shot Cecil with a compound bow. The law says you must have a special permit
for that, as well as ranger present on a bow hunt.

Fourth, the hunt permit was bought on a quota swap, which is illegal. The hunting operator
bought the permit from an area elsewhere in the country, which had no lions. Then he came to
the area next to Hwange and hunted Cecil with an illegal permit.

Fifth, there were no hunt return forms, no tax invoice, and no one in an official position in
parks knew they were hunting – all of which is illegal.

- See more at:

Does anyone honestly believe that Walter Palmer didn't know any of this when he arranged to 
shoot Cecil by baiting him with a carcass in a private area right next to the reserve? 

Given that the story goes that the other pride male - Jericho - fed from the carcass first, but
the hunters didn't try for him, it would suggest that they knew exactly what they were doing and which lion they wanted to kill. Could they have failed to notice his collar? No, Cecil's demise was well planned and badly executed. Eleven hours between being shot and dying is a long time to be in pain.

So why did the Government of Zimbabwe drop the call for the extradition of Palmer? Because they don't want to lose the flow of dollars from foreign hunters. Stuff the legality.

Meanwhile the strongest and genetically the best equipped to survive lions continue to be 
killed, thus ensuring the that the genes from the weaker and less fit lions get passed on. And
there is the fallout from killing a pride male where another male will move in and kill all the 
cubs left by the previous incumbent. 

And then the hunters can put another bait out at a later date and kill him too.

It's complete lunacy.

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