Nearly a year ago, the world erupted in outrage when an American hunter killed “Cecil the Lion” in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. Hunters were demonized, a man’s livelihood was destroyed and major corporations changed their policies to keep people from enjoying legal hunting. Baffled conservationists in African countries warned that pressuring hunters to stay out of Africa would harm wildlife. The gibbering gibbons of the anti-gun and anti-hunting movements continued their persecution of hunters. Now the same park in Zimbabwe where Cecil met his end may need to slaughter 200 lions due to the drought of wealthy hunters. From the National Post . . .
Bubye Valley Conservancy has more than 500 lions, the largest number in Zimbabwe’s diminishing wildlife areas. It has warned that its lion population has become unsustainable and that it may even have to cull around 200 as a result of what is being called “the Cecil effect.” …
Conservationists estimate about half of Zimbabwe’s wildlife has disappeared since President Robert Mugabe’s seizure of white-owned land began in 2000, but Bubye has held on by attracting wealthy hunters whose fees support its wildlife work. But last year’s shooting of Cecil, in a conservancy bordering Hwange National Park, sparked a huge backlash against big-game hunting, and bolstered a U.S. plan to ban trophy hunting imports.
The astronomical fees foreign hunters paid to shoot animals in Africa directly supported the continent’s conservation efforts. It was a mutually beneficial, self-sustaining system. Now that the hunters are gone, there isn’t enough money to support Hwange National Park‘s operation and the ecosystem is out-of-whack. Lions will be killed, anyway, without any of hunting’s enormous economic benefits.
When pro-hunting advocacy groups argue that hunting does more for the conservation of wildlife than all the PETA-esque charities combined, theanti-hunting crowd scoffs and dismisses hunters’ logic as self-serving rationalization. Hunting opponents are wrong, and no amount of self-righteous snobbery will change the facts on the ground.
“Killing animals can’t possibly be the best solution!” If it sounds familiar, that’s because it is. It’s the same bilge spouted by civilian disarmers when they state that “more guns isn’t the solution to gun violence.” In both cases their conclusion is based on emotion and only the most superficial understanding of the situation. When opinions like these go unchecked the result is often tragic, like the impending slaughter of 200 lions whose lives could have paid for the comfort and safety of countless other animals.