The Importance of Wild Lions


AH enthusiast
Feb 4, 2009
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Tanzania, Germany, Austria, USA
The Importance of Wild Lions

The knowledge and questions expressed on here about South African Lion Hunting seems to confirm my worst fears - that there are no real wild lions left in SA outside of National Parks! The discussion on what makes a lion wild, cannot be dictated by us in any way...


IMO, a wild lion is one that lives in the wild, un-influenced by human management and who truly rules his domain and lives by the rules and conditions of his natural environment and in interaction with natural members/factors of the eco-system, including unknown members of the same species. A wild lion, should experience the natural life cycle of a lion from being a cub within a pride, being a young adult within a pride, moving away from a pride into a nomadic existence among various prides, fighting amongst nomads and pride males, earning his own pride, adding his genes into the population, surrendering his pride to the new generation and finally living briefly the life of a retired king... all this within a natural habitat, consisting natural prey and conditions as experienced by that particular population of lions for many many years.

There are very few of these 'wild lion' populations left in Africa today. You will find that even some National Parks do not have them - in fact, they are more common in hunting concessions outside National Parks and another reason why sustainable and ethical hunting has a very important role in the future of wildlife and wilderness. Some parks have influenced the natural balance of territories so much that some species, such as lions, do not experience natural cycles anymore and that is when we have outbreaks of diseases and mutations through in-breeding and un-natural circumstances.

I am very passionate about wildlife and wilderness habitats and especially key-species to a habitat. For most areas that I have been lucky to experience in Tanzania, the lion is in most cases, a natural resident and symbol of the remoteness and wildness of the area. Many places have lost this symbol already, but many places are still truly ruled by natures' king - every local will confide that although they fear the lion - their land would be a lesser place without him. Even the Sukuma Herdsman (who desires to kill every lion who would endanger his herd of cattle), realizes that his culture would have a big emptiness without the presence of the lion. The Maasai already accept the loss of a key component in their head-strong culture - their warrior youth no longer experience the wildlife battles that made them a feared people throughout the lands. Losing the WILD LION will be a loss to nature and mankind that I do not want to imagine...

Having said that, the breeding programs in SA are doing a great deal of good for the species as a whole, by putting more lions into areas and just simply having more of the species available... but let us not undermine the true king of Africa, by subsidizing him with man-made solutions. There is a place for our management programs and solutions, but let us protect the foundations of this great species and do everything we can to support and protect the few populations of wild lions left in Africa - we can only learn from their natural existence, how to best manage them in our breeding and captive or controlled/monitored programs. I hope i am getting through to you...

Just some of my views on the African Lion. To those potential lion hunters out there;
ask yourself many questions before you venture to pursue your lion desires - I will leave it at that to avoid getting controversial. I have nothing against hunting lion or lion hunters and have taken one myself as well as successfully guided many hunters to the awesome animal - but on a few occasions, I expected the quarry to be given a lot more respect than he received before having to fall to a modern human hunter. These are wild lions i am talking about... hunted the right way, in their natural environment.
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