CoverSept15 600A world gone mad


The recent killing of a lion under suspicious circumstances in Zimbabwe caused worldwide outrage. The lion’s death should not be in vain – we can hopefully learn some valuable lessons from the incident.

The most important lesson to learn for professional hunters and hunters is that if you operate outside the law there will be consequences – sooner or later.

Facts are still sketchy and need to be corroborated but some of the allegations that have been leveled at the professional hunter and his client include the following:

Investigations show the killing of the lion was illegal because according to Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) the land owner was not allocated a lion on his hunting quota for 2015.

The hunters had gone out at night on a vehicle with a spotlight with a bait animal tied to the vehicle to lure the animal out of Hwange National Park.

The lion was 12 to 13 years of age.

The hunter shot the animal with a bow and arrow but this shot did not kill the lion.
It was tracked and found 40 hours later when it was shot with a rifle.

The hunters then found that the dead lion was wearing a tracking collar, which they unsuccessfully tried to hide.
If these allegations are found to be true then the professional hunter and landowner deserve whatever punishment the law metes out to them. I for one will not attempt to justify their actions if they were illegal. The hunting client stated that he had no idea that the lion he took was a known local favourite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt. He relied on the expertise of his local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt. To his knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted. If this is the case he should be dealt with more leniently, however, I find it very strange that he did not verify the legalities and documentation with his outfitter/professional hunter prior to the commencement of the hunt.

The PH has lost his license and his livelihood and all those that work for him.
The PH, the hunting client and the landowner are to be prosecuted for poaching and could receive long jail sentences.
On Saturday, Zimbabwe’s wildlife authority said it had suspended the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants in the Hwange area. This will also impact on other hunting operations.

Bow and arrow hunts were also suspended and can only be approved by the head of the wildlife authority.
American Delta Airlines has banned the transport of hunting trophies on their aircraft.

Great (almost irreparable) damage has been caused to the hunting industry that could ultimately contribute to the collapse of the industry and Africa’s wildlife – a huge consequence for operating outside of the law.

So the lessons to be learned by professional hunters and hunters are:
Make sure of your first shot – dispatch the animal you are hunting as quickly as possible. This is (should be) the fundamental ethic of hunting.
If you cannot hunt lawfully – DON’T.

The bigger picture
The anti-hunting and animal rights lobbyists will sensationalize incidents like this and blow them out of all proportion and perspective. This is done by emotive, uninformed and sensationalist reporting. Examples of misleading reporting in the media reports include the following:

“An iconic animal like that is worth much more in the long term.” (COMMENT: The lion was 13 years old. Lions seldom live beyond the age of 14 in the wild. The lion would have died of injury or starvation within the next year or two).

“The lions death is yet another blow to Zimbabwe’s economy, .We are extremely saddened. Cecil was a drawcard…” (COMMENT: It is illogical to assume that foreign tourists would travel all the way to Zimbabwe to see a particular lion. Don’t lions die in Zimbabwe of natural causes?)

“The saddest part of all is that now that Cecil is dead, the next lion in the hierarchy, Jericho, will most likely kill all Cecil’s cubs so that he can insert his own bloodline into the females.” (COMMENT: Male lions become sexually mature at about 26 months of age but generally do not start breeding until the age of four. Theoretically they can breed until about the age of 16, but are seldom successful in being able to do so beyond the age of 14 when they cease to reproduce because of their loss of pride tenure. Does the writer have a problem with the natural way of how things work? Don’t lions die as a natural course of events? Does infanticide not occur in natural lion populations? The writer is out of touch with reality.)

A number of reports stated that the lion had been shot with a crossbow. Photos of the dead lion with the hunter and professional hunter clearly indicate that the weapon used was not a crossbow but a compound bow. (COMMENT:  There is a difference and is a further example of ignorance and inaccurate fact reporting).
Lessons to be learned by journalists and reporters from this incident: If you cannot report accurately and objectively – DON’T.

What saddens me most of all is the double standards of humanity in the confusing days we are living in. So much noise and emotion and rhetoric over one lion killed, but a deafening silence when it comes to the millions of defenceless unborn babies aborted and offered on the altar of convenience every day, deafening silence when it comes to 210 000 people killed thus far in the Syrian war, deafening silence when it comes to the thousands of

Christians (and other faiths) being martyred by ISIS, deafening, deafening, silence... Somehow the word hypocrisy comes to mind.

God bless

Cleve Cheney
Hunting editor


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