This absolute tragedy has sparked international outrage, and rightly so. I appreciate that all my readers, by now, know all the circumstances, so there’s no need for me to rehash all the existing info.
Cecil, even though he is no longer with us – and the world is poorer for it – can and will become an icon to stop hunting in general, and canned-hunting in particular.
There is so much that we can all do to help. To be blatantly self-promotional, 30% of the proceeds from my books go to the purchase of necessary equipment for our rangers. These fine men do not concentrate solely on all the big, glamorous animals, but also do incredible work in the field.
For instance, collecting this many snares in a national park causes a lot of injuries to hands.
We recently managed to raise enough to purchase a number of work-gloves to issue to rangers. But more supplies like this are needed: boots, socks, water-proof jackets, small tents, boot-laces, gaiters, gps units, the list is extensive.
They need. You can help to give. Get in touch with me for info on how to buy one of my books and get “the double”. A book for you to enjoy, keep and pass to your children and their children and the satisfaction of knowing that you are giving massive support to our unsung heroes.
This is a talk I gave earlier this year about canned-hunting. Please read it.
14th March 2015
Lion cubs are really cute, aren’t they?
Cuddly, good looking, soulful eyes, lovable.
And because of this, many unscrupulous so-called conservationists have jumped right in, seeing yet another opportunity to fleece the public, tourists and locals alike, on many different levels.
Visitors to these places have no idea that each and every cub on the property is under a sentence of death.
Money is extracted from unsuspecting visitors at every opportunity.
The visitors are encouraged to pet the cubs, walk with adolescents, take part in photo opportunities and are even offered a lion to adopt, for a cash consideration, of course.
Those that adopt are assured of regular progress updates, most, if not all of which are a total fiction.
But what happens when the young lions become too much of a handful and could pose a danger to tourists?
They are moved to an enclosure, well out of sight of visitors, where they are extremely well fed and nurtured to maturity.
Different age groups are kept in their own enclosures, enclosures that are much too small to allow any form of meaningful exercise.
So … as the captive lion breeding program succeeds in growing lions, a number of mature lions, also well fed and reasonably healthy, become a new and very lucrative money-making asset.
The word goes out to overseas individuals and clubs, announcing that lion are available to hunt.
The costs are high. Upwards of two hundred and fifty thousand rand for a lion, and around one hundred thousand rand for a lioness. Added to that are all the other costs associated with being able to kill a lion: airfares, accommodation, weapons hire, professional hunter’s fees (that one is just another way to make even more money!), carcass dressing and so on.
The so-called hunt is a complete travesty.
A lion is released into a fenced area of about one hundred and fifty hectares, sometimes smaller, and left for a couple of days to explore and get used to the new environment.
And then the day comes …..
The gate opens and a vehicle enters …….
The gate is closed ……
The hunter, accompanied by support staff, stands in the back of the truck while the driver tracks down the lion.
Now … the lion has been raised by humans. It has an innate trust of people, which it considers to be its extended family.
On its own for a few days, the lion is feeling a bit lonely, so when a group of humans enter the area, it rushes to greet them, wanting contact with its family.
The hunter is told that the lion is charging them, and encouraged to fire.
It is killed.
All it wanted to do was say hello.
The trust this magnificent animal had for humans was destroyed in an instant by a large-calibre bullet.
Visitors who ask questions about the whole lion raising operation will be fed a string of lies about the disposition of the lions in these camps.
They will be told, with believable conviction, that when they are mature, the lions will be taken to a reserve area and integrated into an existing pride.
It is totally impossible to raise cubs to become independent animals in the wild.
Without their mothers and other members of the pride, they cannot learn the social, stalking, hunting and killing skills required for survival.
Members of an existing pride, when faced with an intruder, will either force it to leave, where it will die of starvation, or kill it.
In the wild, lionesses have young at about two year intervals. However, if the babies are killed, or removed from the mother, she will immediately come into estrus and be receptive for mating again. Two litters a year can be produced for these organisations.
Calculating just the averages – that’s a potential four thousand and eighty lions bred in captivity per year. Where are they?
This practise is sanctioned by our government, regardless of what you’ve heard to the contrary.
This practise is a total abomination.
This practise must stop and stop now.
Three lions a day are slaughtered.
Do the maths ….
That’s over a thousand animals a year.
At an average cost of a hundred and seventy-five thousand rand per kill, that’s over half a million rand, PER DAY!
And that doesn’t include all those extra expenses.
Carry that on for a year’s worth of killing and we get the unbelievable figure of over five hundred million rand!
No wonder the government and these breeding places don’t want it to stop!
It’s an inconceivable amount of money.
Money that is used, not for conservation, but to make an awful lot of people, from government representatives to the operators, obscenely wealthy, at the expense of an African icon.
Stop the killing.
Don’t pet a cub.
Thank you for being here, and thanks for listening.