Canned Lion Hunting in Zambia?
by Phil C. Minnaar

Canned Lion hunting is a national disgrace for South Africa with nothing more and nothing less that can be said about the subject. The Professional hunters Association of Zambia expresses their strongest regret against canned lion hunting and urge other organizations to start taking action against it so that something so inhumane and shameful does not happened in our own country. Canned lion hunting (defined as a hunter shooting a trophy lion from a captive bred source) is a big industry in South Africa. The breeders provide the animals, they are put in a fenced enclosure, and the hunter is then given the opportunity to shoot the animal. Alternatively, the lion is drugged, driven to a wildish area without the hunter knowing exactly where he is and then he is given the same opportunity. Or she, a lot of hunters are women.

Assyrian Royal Lion Hunt - Ancient Egyptian Lion hunts were usually reserved for those in power. These hunts nearly resulted in the extermination of regional Lion populations by 1100 BC. Commemorative artwork has been found telling of how during a single hunt, pharaoh Amenhotep III killed more than 100 lions. Assyrian Royal Lion hunt, from the North Palace of Nineveh (room C, panel 25-28), 645?35 BC - now in the British Museum. Assyrian Royal Lion Hunt, from the North Palace of Nineveh (room C, panel 25-28), 645?35 BC - now in the British Museum.

South Africa and Namibia's trophy hunted lions are not in the same category as the rest of African's lions and if Zambia starts with the canned lion hunting atrocities, the international market value of our wild lion population will drop drastically and they will be reclassified as non free ranging lions whether they are hunted in a GMA (game management area) or not. Canned lion hunting is normally practiced by only a small group of game farmers who care less about our wildlife recourses and are only interested in personal gain. Subsequently, this practice typically provides little or no benefits to the local population and communities.

Namibia's wild lion populations were reclassified recently following the same scenario and this action is irreversible once declared. Not only will the status of our wild lion population change internationally, but the iconic image of our Professional hunters as some of Africa's last, legendary hunting guides will be lost forever. Thus, the lions will suffer together along with an African hunting experience that only Zambia can offer. This will have a strong, negative ripple effect on Zambia's hunting status, as we will be branded by anti-hunting organizations as a nation with no ethical values towards wildlife. Ultimately, our local communities who are so desperately in need of investment to alleviate poverty will suffer as well. Can we, as a nation, afford to be so shortsighted and ignore the flickering of red lights that ultimately spell disaster for an important component of our national economy, as well as our wildlife heritage?

Dr. Paula White, an internationally recognized and respected wildlife biologist, has studied Zambia's lion populations for the past 8 years and expresses serious concerns at the importation of captive bred lions from South Africa. Dr. White emphasizes that our wild lion populations are perfectly adapted to their environments, and that the foreign gene pool and bloodlines of captive bred lions from other regions in Africa will have a negative impact on existing populations by reducing local genetic adaptations. Captive bred lions also bring with them the possibility of introducing diseases to our wild lions. Behaviorally, captive bred lions are often more dangerous than wild lions because they are inexperienced hunters yet have little fear of man, making them a greater risk for becoming livestock killers and man-eaters. Thus, in addition to the negative socio-economic impacts on the hunting industry that would occur if canned lion hunting is established in Zambia, there is serious ecological threat that importation of captive bred lions will permanently devastate Zambia's wild lion populations.

As chairman of the Professional Hunters Association of Zambia, I called and held an extraordinary meeting on the 29th of January 2011 in Reno, Nevada, United States of America during the annual Safari Club International convention. The extraordinary meeting took place with 5 executive members and 11 full members present and therefore constitutes a full quorum on the issue of Canned Lion Hunting in Zambia? It was unanimously condemned and rejected by a majority of 11 to 2 members. In attendance was also Dr. Paula White, Director of the Zambia Lion Project. Safari Club International was represented by Mr. John Boretsky, SCI's Director for Hunters and Guides of Africa.

Canned Lion hunting of any form is strongly condemned by the Professional Hunters Association of Zambia, its current committee and the majority of its members. We are bound by our organization's constitution and our code of conduct, the Zambia Wildlife Authority's Code of Conduct for Professional Hunters, the Wildlife Act, No 12 of 1998 and our own integrity. We will at all times exercise ethical hunting practices and in a highly professional manner. Our members will always strive to practice the 吐air chase hunting ethics and if any members are found guilty of any malpractice hunting methods, the organization will not hesitate to use all legal steps for a conviction and will exercise all of its recourses for maximum punishment, even if it does mean the expulsion of members from the organization?