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“The death of Cecil the lion at the hands of pilloried dentist Walter Palmer has sparked worldwide outrage,” reports, “with virtual mobs tanking Palmer’s Yelp ratings, real mobs leaving angry messages at his office, and activists and celebrities alike calling for his metaphorical (or literal) head. But the tragic death of one lion belies a much more widespread and serious problem affecting wildlife in Zimbabwe.” The problem of hunting! Right? Well . . .

The landlocked, southern African nation is one of the hardest-hit places on the continent when it comes to the killing of big game, both legal and illegal. It is a country where, Slate reports, “hunters exported 49 lion trophies in 2013 alone” and where, since Cecil’s death “it’s likely that at least a dozen other lions have been shot by trophy hunters.”A 2013 study in the journal Public Library of Science estimates that 96 lions were hunted per year between 1996 and 2006 in the country and 43 per year more recently. Lion trophy hunts were banned there in 2005 but allowed again after 2008.

OK guys, a little context please. How many lions are there in Zimbabwe? The UK-based charity Lion Aid reckons trophy hunters in Zimbabwe killed around 800 lions in the 10 years to 2009, out of a population in the country of up to 1,680. Ah but reports that . . .

Many conservationists say that without trophy hunting there would be no lions at all.

“The land would be used for farming and this would accelerate the loss of wildlife. We don’t like trophy hunting but it slows the rapid decline of populations. It is a necessary evil,” said Guy Balme, director of the leopard programme in Africa for US-based conservation group Panthera.

So lion hunting saves lions. Who’d a thunk it? Not Time, which quickly changes the subject to poaching.

The problem does not stop with lions. Poachers killed between 15 and 20 rhinos in the country in 2014, 60 rhinos in 2013 and 84 (the peak) in 2008. The World Wildlife Fund estimates that 60% of the rhino population in Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was killed between 2003 and 2005. Now, there are only 750 rhinos left in the entire country — compared to 2000 in the 1980s — making poaching numbers significant enough to merit round-the-clock guard in areas like Kyle Recreation Park in the country’s southern area, the Mail & Guardian reports.

Fair enough: poaching is a bad, bad thing. But what, pray tell, is the alternative? Time mentions hunting and then goes with . . . tourism.

Elephants, too have had a particularly difficult time in recent years. With a population of nearly 80,000, the animal does not benefit from as much protection as other species. In fact, Bloomberg reports, Zimbabwe requested in July 2014 to reverse the U.S. import ban on its ivory and continues to promote an elephant-hunting industry that generates $14 million a year and that it says is necessary to upkeep nature reserves and control the population. But Hwange National Park, where about half of the country’s elephants live (and which Cecil called home for 13 years) was the site of what the Telegraph called “the worst single massacre in southern African for 25 years” in 2013, when hunters after elephant tusks — a set of which can fetch up to $16,000 on the black market across the border in South Africa — poisoned watering holes with cyanide, killing as many as 300 elephants, many with their calves by their sides.

Zimbabwe’s tourist industry is just beginning to rebound, after decades languishing under dictator Robert Mugabe, and a visit may be one of the most effective ways that those up in arms over Cecil the Lion’s death can help avenge him, because tourism shines a spotlight on the activities of poachers. “Poachers don’t like to be seen,” ex-ranger and eco-travel promoter Mark Butcher told the Guardian in 2014. “This is the frontline where the war is being fought and tourists who get here are like eyes and ears against the enemy.”

Yeah, no thanks. While I have no desire to shoot Africa’s lions, elephants, rhinos or other endangered species, the only way to preserve them is to encourage wealthy hunters to take them and other species (legally). Once again, well-intentioned political correctness is blinding people to the truth about animal conservation and having the opposite effect to the one intended.

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  1. And as with gun control all the outrage is focused on lawful hunters who hunt responsibly much to the benefit of the wildlife.
    Meanwhile poachers fly in on helicopters and gun down a herd of elephants with military hardware for ivory to sell to Chinese businessmen and the best the world can do is wag its collective impotent finger.

    • They are at least consistent in that way. Whether it be in the US or around the world they’re always shouting it should be harder for law-abiding citizens to accidentally break the law while nothing is even brainstormed to dent actual criminal activities.

      The animal rights groups have mostly sunk to the level of their constituents, however. They are usually downright feral and demand blood for blood, even when the legal hunting benefits the communities and the animal populations.

      Two days after this news broke I got my free coffee table book “The Short Stories of Larry Pottersfield Pt. 1” from MidwayUSA. That should be a real conversation piece now.

    • For a group of people who are seemingly so concerned about the life and happiness of a large feline half a world away, where’s the outrage over a so-called doctor laughing about crushing the skull of an aborted human- that he then illegally sold? I used to think that it was sweepingly broad to call liberalism a mental disorder, but I now believe that it belongs in the DSM.

      • +1000 this! I have been wondering this all day. Disgusting that they get so outraged over a lion but still protective of this doctor and her corporation. Beats me all to hell.

  2. I’ve got great memories of Hwange.
    Met a park ranger there who just appeared out of nowhere. In the middle of nowhere.
    We had stopped to take pictures of a herd of elephants.
    The old boy had a well used, very old SKS slung over his shoulder. His job was to follow the herd. On foot.
    Great place to visit.

    • Bet he didn’t have the overfed look of a typical American tourist. In this country we spend billions on gym memberdhip with no apparent results.

      In his country he chases elaphents, for their own safety, on foot with a beat up milsurp. Wonder what his resting heart rate is?

  3. I had friends in Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) and visited it once in the mid 80s where I did a little hunting. It was still fairly well regulated (but rapidly declining). You couldn’t pay me enough to go back there now. Mugabe destroyed it. That’s what one-party socialist rule does. And that’s the real culprit, not an unethical hunter. He is just a symptom of the problem.

  4. This is fucking sad, 1 dead lion and the whole world throws money and demands protection for them. 4 dead marines in Tenn. and it was suggested recruiters hide in civilian clothes without protection. How about the feel gooders round up the lions and dress them up like game wardens, that will work right?

    • I mentioned this same line of thought just yesterday. People hear of one not so great, not so important issue, and the whole world focuses on that, instead of things that need dire attention. Classic political and economical slight of hand.

      • Do you think it’s an accident?

        If so, I suggest a watch of the documentary “Starsuckers.” Very interesting how the idea of “fame” is used to manipulate.

  5. I saw something similar to this from Stossel. He was talking about elephants not lions, but the principal is the same. In countries like Zambia, Uganda, and Kenya hunting elephants is banned population went from 180k to 44k, but where hunting was allowed it went from 80k to 230k between 1960 and y2k. The problem seems to be that “protected” really means “only valuable to poachers”. I don’t mean nobody cares just that feeling good about them still existing is the only visible benefit to keeping them around. Of course, in that part of the world “feel good” would have to beat “have food” for “protected” to work.

      • He said Zimbabwe, not Southern Africa.

        Zimbabwe has one of the most corrupt, autocratic governments in existence, which says a lot even for Africa. It’s economy is on perpetual life support and the inflation rate is insane. Part of the reason why illegal poaching becomes so widespread is because the people are poor and look the other way, while the government officials are either outgunned or part of the problem themselves.

        • Zimbabwe is Southern Africa, as is Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique. Every gov’t is corrupt in its own way. Hyperinflation is to your benefit if you have dollars in your pocket – you have much better negotiating power with unconverted dollars. Really, don’t read wikipedia about the places – go there.

    • You’re seen everything worth seeing in the US? Or are your friends/neighbors impressed by the $ spent on gadfly junkets? Same as Obumer.

      Tourism to a 4th world cesspool? Leave it to silly Brits and Germans. Not really working out so well their interactions with the African Mohammadans.

  6. Agree hunting permit fees are important source of conservation income, but only so far as if the money actually makes it to rangers/conservation efforts, which is not assured with the plethora of currupt governments in Africa. As Tom notes above, a single Ranger with a beat up $100 sks does not show great amounts of money trickling down. Of note, games laws in Canada and U.S. Prove that hunting can work for conservation as license fees provide much of the money for conserved land, and wardens to police them, but Africa, not so sure. Also, it appears that the Cicel cat was poached, as it is reported the group did not have a valid permit for that area, so guess they have to see the judge on that one. Too bad these countries cannot seem to nail down the multitudes of other poachers decimating many magnificent animal populations to get a few $’s. Of course it has been recently reported that the African population growth is far outstripping estimates of a few years ago, so likely most game animals are doomed over there within the next few decades. Tom was smart to go while he could.

  7. Having done four Africa trip now, and a fifth planned, I don’t have any interest in taking one of the big five nor am I interested in mounts for my wall. Hunting provides millions in conservation, without those hunting dollars there would be no breeding programs and tourist only lodges would be closing up rapidly. It’s not like breeding aged males and females are being taken. These are near death animals. The only thing saving these animals is hunting and wise management of the herds.

  8. I don’t have any problem with people hunting exotic game, but I do think it’s pretty lame how “canned” these “safaris” can be. I always imagined you’d head out into the wild in a land rover, set up camp, and then stalk your prey for a week while your prey is stalking and trying to kill you. A rich guy at my club goes on these hunts and they pretty much sherpa his 300 lb butt right up to an animal and line him up with it so he can pull the trigger and then take a picture.


    • Well said. 1000+ Hunting is an essential part of conservation. Without hunting there would be no animals. Period. The problem is that this “hunt” was canned, the dentist wanted his trophy, and wanted to claim that he took the lion with a bow and arrow. Doubtless, he convinced himself that he was going to be a brave warrior, facing danger with his trusty hunting bow. One hopes he wouldn’t tell that kind of story to others when he returned to the states but even if he was just doing it for his own personal glory, he was a total rube, the hunt was fake, and the lion was so socialized to be around humans that he was anything but formidable prey.

      But even if the dentist was a total rube who honestly believed he was hunting a lion with a bow and arrow, he apparently actually thought he was doing something legitimate.

      What drives this sad state of affairs, is that the whole thing is so embarrassingly tawdry. There is a seamy side to trophy hunting where rich city-folk pay big-bucks to kill docile, tame animals which obligingly stand still so that they can be killed. This ain’t huntin’.

  9. With socialism everything is about making them feel good and the reality of unintended consequences be damned. Elephants eat a lot, every day as do predatory cats and neither group will be put off. The ‘protected’ elephant will jovially eat your crops to the ground in the absence of more convenient forage and tear the fields to Hell. The predatory cats admittedly do not regularly eat people, I mean aside from the lovable ‘Born Free’ lions of course, but they will sure eat your livestock. These are poor countries with poor people working 6.5 days a week to try and maintain that lofty standard and they are supposed to rejoice over a feel good, know nothing movement that aims to make them even poorer and hungrier.

    Then again if you put pricey tags on the game the herd is managed to a point where the numbers don’t crowd them onto livestock and farm fields and they can become a local resource rather than a local blight. There is the possibility though not always reality of more jobs for locals as scouts and wardens and in the case of elephants the meat is divided up which is a nice dividend on a continent made up largely of involuntary vegetarians. Another thing to keep in mind is that these are vast wide open areas without roads and amenities and little in the way of law; long story short there is absolutely going to be big game hunting the only real question is will it be managed and profit the country.

    Of course for the socialist this presents 2 problems, on the one hand there is scant opportunity for histrionics and on the other it is historically proven and factually based. If there is one thing even a shy SJW has made clear in modern times it’s that numbers and facts and that kind of stuff are icky-doody and only mentioned by the patriarchy to oppress poor delicate snowflake. If the insanity piles any deeper we’re all going to need wings.

    • Sorry to burst your red pill/blue pill world Cesare, but I’m as Conservative as they come and my opinion is trophy hunting of any type is bullshit. Don’t shoot it if you aren’t going to eat it.

      • With the caveat that I would not presume to speak for you, you sound as though you are voicing an opinion that stems from a personal ethic. Those are things I generally applaud. Perhaps a wrong interpretation on my part, but you also do not sound as though you have a need to ruin this man’s life and livelihood and hound him in any way possible but that living your choice in your own way is sufficient. Personally I would say that is a healthier more adult approach and in far too short supply these days, a thing to be admired regardless of whether or not you reach my conclusions. As for my world, it remains very much in tact, and quite beautifully so at the moment.

      • If you have your nose up others butts to the degree that you care what/how they do stuff, you MAY not be as conservative as you think you are.

        And, you don’t understand “trophy hunting” at all. It’s not like the meat went to waste…just rotting on the ground. Just because the hunter HIMSELF may not have taken the meat does not mean it was not used.

        We hashed over all this last time this came up (with the old black rhino, I believe)…people hear “trophy hunt” and go all goo-goo emotional, just like the proggies and the antis, and think “mean man killed poor lion for no reason.”

        The translation of that is ‘for no good reason I approve of. That’s the disconnect with too many modern ‘conservatives.’ Just like the progs, too many conservatives think their approval is the basis of true individual freedom.

  10. It all comes down to what you call “hunting”. There’s no real lion hunting in Africa, hasn’t been for years. Baiting a GPS collared lion from a game preserve is not what ethical hunters consider “Fair Chase”. Same goes for fenced ‘canned’ hunts, or transporting animals raised in near-captivity to places where they can be easily found and shot.
    Unfortunately all hunters are universally tarred with the same brush as Dr. Palmer.

    • I have nothing against hunters. I’m a carnivore. But to use the phrase “fair chase” to describe an activity that involves a 24X scope and a shot from a quarter mile away just sounds ridiculous, whether or not the “game” is raised, fed, tamed and caged.

      • Man is the consummate tool maker. Your argument could be made about ANY kind of hunting that uses anything more than hands and feet.

        Oh wait. With this highly developed brain controlling things, our hands and feet give an “unfair advantage” as well. Where does it end? We lay on the ground and wait for prey to walk into our mouths?

        Nature is harsh and unforgiving. We developed tools (bows, guns, rifle scopes, whatever) to take prey. Embrace your inner Apex Predator.

  11. Make the libtards happy. Stop all hunting in Africa. Let all the animals be wiped out by poachers, disease and lack of forage. Then, let the people starve. Do it for Cecil.

    • I reckon at least half of Africa’s problems are meddlesome whites in the west, playing the “white man’s burden” card. Doesn’t matter whether we’re talking food supplies, disease, conservation, population, etc. Ever since the end of colonialism, there has been this international-level pecksniffery thrust down upon Africa that is insufferable.

  12. If you really care about the future of lions, rhinos, etc., start farming them for food! That will ensure their species survive.

  13. Apparently the libtards/PITA/bunny lovers main objection was a “trophy hunter” and didn’t eat the meat. REALLY? Supposed to believe that?

    The natives didn’t fry it up as “bush meat”?

    What does crusty old male lion taste like? Not corn fed prime rib I’m thinking.

  14. Unarmed tourists encounter poacher armed with AK deep in African bush. Tourist attempts to shame poacher into reforming.

    Nothing bad can come of that.

  15. First police militarization, then the confederate flag, now hunting… The Facebook pseudo activists piss me off to no end. If someone actually cares about these issues and has a history of being involved in them, that’s fine.
    But what I see on social media is bunch of idiots who have never cared about an issue until it became trendy to do so slap a bunch of opinion pieces written by someone else with a brief sentence of their own expressing their outrage. yhe Confederate battle standard has been around for 150 years, if it pissed these idiots off as much as they claim why did they wait until now to become passionate about it?

  16. A hunter is not a poacher. Did someone somewhere get whacked in the head? Another hysteria driven issue. Humans simply can’t handle the internet age of constant information. Feel sorry for the Dr., looks like a bad rap. Maybe we do need to sterile people, there does appear to be far too many idiots.

  17. I’m in the group who thinks there should be more outrage over selling baby “parts”. And I’m way more concerned about muslims cutting heads off and kidnapping African Christians(and muslims too.)

  18. Planned parenthood kills more kids than that in an hour. Cecil is a convenient divergence from the baby parts market.

  19. No matter what the crime it is not the right of the mob to exact vigilante justice. Clearly they have no respect for the rule of law and a civil society. They need to use some common sense and let the police handle it.

  20. Cecil the lion was hunted, shot with a bow, and killed with a gun shot after being wounded by the hunter. I read an article that interviewed a few locals and some had no clue about the lion or the controversy. One individual questioned why it was such a big deal. Another asked why is there so much concern for a lion when they have so many other problems to deal with on a daily basis.

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