Judging Lion

Discussion in 'Judging Trophies' started by Conservation Force, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. Conservation Force

    Conservation Force CONTRIBUTOR AH Member

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    Judging Lion

    A Tool For Lion Hunters: The Pocket Guide To Aging Lions

    In November, Conservation Force began widely distributing a condensed version of its Guide to Aging Lion in East and Southern Africa. The free guide occupies the last two pages of this Bulletin. It has been circulated to professional hunters associations, is available on Conservation Force's website, is being published in African Indaba and freely handed out at meetings and conventions around the world.

    Of course, it is not a substitute for the more complete guide of 46 pages published by Safari Press. The guide was the work of 12 of the leading lion specialists in the world, while this free guide has been wholly prepared by the leading author of the original, Karyl Whitman, Ph.D., and has been previewed by Craig Packer, Ph.D.

    Hunters are the primary stakeholders in the survival of the African lion, which is seen as intolerable by pastoralists. We are also its stewards.

    It is necessary and important that we search for and apply suitable practices for this dwindling species. The limiting of harvest to lion five years of age or older is the new ethic, new definition of a trophy lion, and has the very least biological impact on the respective population. If we are to be good stewards, we must adopt reasonable practices ourselves. The age ethic is fortified by contemporary lion science. Conservation Force is deeply engaged with the scientific community in the advancement of that science in addition to our leadership in evolving national lion action plans across Africa.

    I am getting a little leery of æ¾±est practices as being unnecessarily limiting. Nevertheless, this is a better practice, particularly while we endeavor to secure robust lion populations, of which there are too few, and rebuild and restore others. It is probably a necessary, good faith practice if we are to keep lion from being uplisted and continue to play our important role in its conservation. It is still a difficult judgment call in the field, but that is what makes it a true trophy.

    View or print The Pocket Guide To Aging Lions at pocket-guide-to-aging-lion.

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    The Pocket Guide To Aging Lions

    View or print The Pocket Guide To Aging Lions at pocket-guide-to-aging-lion.

    Conservation Force Directors serve on the African Lion Working Group (ALWG) and the Cat Specialist Group of IUCN. Conservation Force has lion research, management and recovery projects from Danakil, Ethiopia, west to Burkina Faso and throughout all of Africa. Unfortunately, it is not yet enough, but we are in for the long haul to ensure that lions forever roar.
  2. AFRICAN INDABA

    AFRICAN INDABA CONTRIBUTOR AH Enthusiast

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    Trophy Lion Guidelines & Age Minimums - Zambia Project

    Trophy Lion Guidelines & Age Minimums - Zambia Project
    by Dr. Paula White, Director, Zambia Lion Project, Center for Tropical Research, University of California
    email: paw@carnivoreconservation.com

    As many of you know, Tanzania has recently announced a new regulation that all trophy lions hunted in that country must be a minimum of 6 years old. The details of how age will be determined and consequences of shooting underage lions are still being worked out by the Tanzanian authorities, scientists, and safari operators, but there is general agreement that the industry must be pro-active and become more self-policing in the future in order to defend the claim that lion hunting is being conducted on both an ethical and sustainable basis.

    Operators in the Niassa area of Northern Mozambique have been participating in an age-based trophy selection program for the past few years. While scientists and hunters alike agree that determining the exact age of a wild lion is not possible, assigning individuals to broader age categories is more straightforward and in Niassa consist of the following:

    1. 4 years old or less

    2. between 4 and 6 years old

    3. 6 years or older

    The Niassa system assigns "points" to each trophy based upon the age category into which it falls. Age is determined by combined examination of tooth wear, tooth x-ray, and trophy photographs. The total number of points determines whether or not the quota in a given block will increase, decrease, or stay the same in the next year. Trophy lions deemed to be 4 years of age or less may be confiscated and/or fines imposed. Within the 4-6 years age category, the first lion taken receives a 層arning', but if a second lion falls into this category, it results in loss of quota. If all trophies fall into the 6 years or older category, the quota is increased for the next year. While the specifics may vary slightly, it is likely that Tanzania will adopt a program similar to Niassa's.

    Support for age minimums of trophy lions is widespread; Zambia Lion Project has been proposing for several years that a mandatory sampling program be established with minimum target age of 5 years or older. However, given the ever-increasing international pressure to close lion hunting entirely, it would be in Zambia's best interest to standardize its performance and to strive for a 6 years or older minimum in the near future.

    A Regional Guide to Aging Lions in Zambia
    Zambia Lion Project appreciates the constructive comments that were received following distribution last year of the first draft of this guide. The goal was to produce an expanded guide (more trophies, with greater detail of the methods used to age trophies) for 2011. Unfortunately, not enough quality photographs were received from the 2010 season to accomplish a revision. With your help, I would like to revise the guide for next year. Therefore, I am kindly requesting your help in obtaining standardized photographs of each trophy lion taken in 2011. Please see the samples of the eight-photo series I require.

    Photo 1: Trophy - whole body from the side
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    Photo 2: Head up - mane on throat and chest
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    Photo 3: Head down - mane on head and shoulders
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    Photo 4: Face/Head from above to show shape & scars
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    Photo 5: Nose - keep in focus!!
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    Photo 6: Teeth front - at time of hunt to show natural COLOR
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    Photo 7: Teeth row - skull at eye level
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    Photo 8: Inside of top & bottom canines
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    The goal of the regional aging guide is to compare a lions' physical characteristics with the best available age estimates as obtained from tooth x-rays and tooth wear. Standardized photographs are an integral part of improving and updating Zambia's regional aging guide which in turns allows us to better monitor the progress of the age-based trophy selection program. The continued cooperation of the Zambian hunting fraternity helps to demonstrate the industry's commitment to ethical and sustainable hunting practices, and on a broader scale, helps to ensure the future of lion hunting in Zambia and beyond.

    Zambia Lion Project extends its deepest thanks to the Professional Hunters Association of Zambia for their generous donation from last year's end of season dinner dance. This level of support means more than words can say. Thanks to all contributors for your kind assistance, cooperation, and support.

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